Genetics and Evolution

How do fossils form?

Fossils are the preserved remains of once-living organisms. Fossils form rarely, since an organism is usually consumed totally or scattered by scavengers after death. If the structures remain intact, fossils can be preserved in amber (hardened tree sap), Siberian permafrost, dry caves, or rock. Rock fossils are the most common. In order to form a rock fossil, three things must happen:

  1. The organism must be buried in sediment
  2. The hard structures must mineralize
  3. The sediment surrounding the fossil must harden and become rock.


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