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Plant Fossil Preservation and Plant Taphonomy
Collecting Bias: Our Incomplete Picture of the Past Vegetation
Three-Dimensionally Preserved Plant Compression Fossils
Pith Cast and "in situ" Preservation
Bacterial Biofilms (Microbial Mats)
Permineralized Plants and the Process of Permineralization
Petrified Forests
Pyrite Preservation
Molecular Palaeobotany
Upland and Hinterland Floras
Abscission and Tissue Separation in Fossil and Extant Plants
Leaf Litter and Plant Debris
Log Jams and Driftwood Accumulations
Fungal Wood Decay: Evidence from the Fossil Record

! Teaching Documents about Taphonomy@

Taphonomy in General

Alexa (Alexa Internet, Inc., an Company). Alexa is a Web Information Company, perhaps best known for the Alexa Rank, the website ranking system which tracks over 30 million websites worldwide. The top ranked sites in category "Science". Go to:
! Taphonomy.

! J. Alleon et al. (2016): Early entombment within silica minimizes the molecular degradation of microorganisms during advanced diagenesis. In PDF, Chemical Geology, 437: 98–108. See also here.

! P.A. Allison and D.J. Bottjer (eds.), 2011:
Taphonomy Process and Bias Through Time. Book announcement (Springer), updated second edition.
! See also here (in PDF, slow download).

! P.A. Allison and D.J. Bottjer (2011): Taphonomy: Bias and process through time. In PDF. In: P.A. Allison and D.J. Bottjer (eds.), Taphonomy: Process and Bias Through Time, Topics in Geobiology 32.

J. Alroy et al. (2001): Effects of sampling standardization on estimates of Phanerozoic marine diversification. In PDF, PNAS, 98: 6261-6266.

V.M. Avila, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas, El Paso:
The Science of Historical Geology.
Early Geologists Tackle History's Mysteries.
Time and Geology.
! Life on Earth: What do Fossils Reveal?.
The Proterozoic: Dawn of a More Modern World.
Early Paleozoic Events.
Life of the Paleozoic Part 1.
Life of the Paleozoic Part 2.
Lecture notes, Powerpoint presentations.

Loren E. Babcock et al. (2006): Starting on PDF page 4: The "Preservation Paradox": Microbes as a Key to Exceptional Fossil Preservation in the Kirkpatrick Basalt (Jurassic), Antarctica. PDF file, The Sedimentary Record, 4. Silica-rich hydrothermal water apparently worked to fossilize organic remains rapidly and produce a "freeze-frame" of macroscopic and microscopic life forms. Microbes seem to have played a vital role in this processes.

! A.K. Behrensmeyer, S.M. Kidwell, and R.A. Gastaldo (2000): Taphonomy and paleobiology. Paleobiology 2000. See also here.

J.B. Bennington et al. (2009): Critical issues of scale in paleoecology. PDF file, Palaios, 24: 1-4.

M.J. Benton and D.A.T. Harper (2009): Introduction to paleobiology and the fossil record. Provided by Google books.
! See also here. On this page you can view or download the figures from the book. Excellent!
! See especially: Taphonomy and the quality of the fossil record. Powerpoint presentation.

D.J. Bottjer et al. (2002): Fossil-Lagerstätten: Jewels of the Fossil Record. In PDF; In: Walter Etter et al.: Exceptional Fossil Preservation: A Unique View on the Evolution of Marine Life. See also here (contents).

Suzanne Bowie, The palaeofiles, Dept. of Earth Sciences University of Bristol: Experimental taphonomy.

! D.E.G. Briggs and S. McMahon (2016): The role of experiments in investigating the taphonomy of exceptional preservation. Abstract, Palaeontology, 59: 1–11. See also here (in PDF).

! D.E.G. Briggs (2003): The role of decay and mineralization in the preservation of soft-bodied fossils. Abstract, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 31: 275-301.

D.E.G. Briggs (1999): Molecular taphonomy of animal and plant cuticles: selective preservation and diagenesis. PDF file, Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci, 354: 7-17. See also here.

A.D. Butler et al. (2015): Experimental taphonomy of Artemia reveals the role of endogenous microbes in mediating decay and fossilization. In PDF, Proc. R. Soc. B, 282.

! Derek Briggs and Peter Crowther (eds.), Earth Pages, Blackwell Publishing: Paleobiology: A Synthesis (PDF files). Snapshot now taken by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine. Series of concise articles from over 150 leading authorities from around the world. Navigate from the content file. There are no restrictions on downloading this material. Excellent! Worth checking out:
Part 1. Major Events in the History of Life, Pages 1-92.
Part 2. The Evolutionary Process and the Fossil Record, Pages 93-210.
Part 3. Taphonomy, Pages 211-304.
Part 4. Palaeoecology, Pages 305-414.
Part 5. Taxonomy, Phylogeny and Biostratigraphy, Pages 415-490.

Robyn J. Burnham (2008): Hide and Go Seek: What does presence mean in the fossil record? Abstract, Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 95: 51-71.

Centro de Estudios de Almejas Muertas (CEAM) English translation: Center for the Study of Dead Clams, Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona. CEAM is an informal organization dedicated to the study of taphonomy.

Cengage Learning (a provider of innovative teaching, learning and research solutions for the academic, professional and library markets worldwide): Taphonomy, Experimental Archaeology, and Ethnoarchaeology. Powerpoint presentation.

Michael Charnine, Encyclopedia of Keywords: Science > Earth Sciences > Paleontology > Taphonomy. An annotated link directory.

Chris (?), Peripatus Home Page, New Zealand: Paleontology Page. This page offers a broad range of selected topics from the whole field of paleontology. Go to: What are Lagerstätten?
These expired links are available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

A.S. Cohen (2011): Scientific drilling and biological evolution in ancient lakes: lessons learned and recommendations for the future. In PDF, Hydrobiologia.

S. Cotroneo et al. (2016): A new model of the formation of Pennsylvanian iron carbonate concretions hosting exceptional soft-bodied fossils in Mazon Creek, Illinois. In PDF, Geobiology, 14: 543-555. See also here (abstract).

Richard Cowen, Department of Geology, University of California, Davis, CA: History of Life, Third Edition. Go to: Preservation and Bias in the Fossil Record.

S.A.F. Darroch et al. (2012): Experimental formation of a microbial death mask. In PDF, Palaios, 27: 293-303.

Yannicke Dauphin, Micropaléontologie, Université Paris: "Biomineralization and Biologicalcalcifications": Taphonomy and Diagenesis NEWS.
Snapshot provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

! C.G. Diedrich (2009): A coelacanthid-rich site at Hasbergen (NW Germany): taphonomy and palaeoenvironment of a first systematic excavation in the Kupferschiefer (Upper Permian, Lopingian). In PDF, Palaeobio. Palaeoenv., 89: 67-94.
Mapped taphonomy of plants, invertebrates and fish vertebrates at six different planal levels on a 12 m2 area.

dmoz: Taphonomy. See also here.

M. Domínguez-Rodrigo (2011): How Can Taphonomy Be Defined in the XXI Century?. In PDF, Journal of Taphonomy, 9.

! Ivan Efremov (1940): Taphonomy: new branch of paleontology. Pan-American Geologist (1940), vol. 74, p. 81-93. Website provided by Sergei Klimanov, St. Petersburg State University.
The link is to a version archived by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey, UK: Research activities,
Molecular taphonomy, and
Other taphonomy.

Encyclopedia of Keywords ( This is a general encyclopedia that provides basic information on a wide range of subjects in an easily readable and understandable format. Encyclopedia of Keywords > Science > Earth Sciences > Paleontology > Taphonomy. Actually a link directory.

C. Christian Emig, Marseille: Taphonomy. The transition of organisms from the biosphere to the lithosphere. Go to: Death,
See also here (PDF file, in French).

J. Farmer (1999): Articel starts on page 94, PDF page 110: Taphonomic Modes in Microbial Fossilization. In PDF; In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Size Limits of Very Small Organisms, Space Studies Board, National Research Council, National Academies Press, Washington, DC.
Snapshot taken by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

A.S. Fernandes (2012): A geobiological investigation of the Mazon Creek concretions of northeastern Illinois, mechanisms of formation and diagenesis. In PDF, thesis, The University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.

Karl W. Flessa, Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, Tucson: Paleontology. Lecture notes. Provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine. Go to: Taphonomy and preservation, Fossilization, taphonomy & traces. Explained in a nutshell.

M. Foote and D.M. Raup (2010): Fossil preservation and the stratigraphic ranges of taxa. In PDF, Paleobiology, 22: 121-140.

Deborah Freile, New Jersey City University: Historical Geology. An investigative course of geological and biological aspects of Earth History as developed through the use of fossil evidence and the principles of stratigraphy, geochronology, and the geology of structures. PowerPoint slides for lecture, e.g.:

! Robert A. Gastaldo, Department of Geology, Colby College, Waterville, Maine: Notes for a course in paleobotany. This website provides information about: Taphonomy: Physiological, Necrological, and Traumatic processes,
Taphonomy: Biogeochemical Processes of Plant Fossilization and Preservational Modes,
Biostratinomic Processes in Volcaniclastic Terrains,
Biostratinomic Processes in Fluvial-Lacustrine Terrains,
Biostratinomic Processes in Coastal-Deltaic Terrains,
Biostratinomic Processes in Peat Accumulating Environments, and
Biostratinomic Processes in Marginal Marine Settings.

Robert A. Gastaldo, Department of Geology, Colby College, Waterville, Maine: A Brief Introduction to TAPHONOMY. About: Gastaldo, Savrda, & Lewis. 1996. Deciphering Earth History: A Laboratory Manual with Internet Exercises. Contemporary Publishing Company of Raleigh, Inc. ISBN 0-89892-139-2.

Geological Society of America (GSA): Northeastern Section - 37th Annual Meeting (March 25-27, 2002) Springfield, Massachusetts: Taphonomy: Insight into Stratigraphy, Sedimentology, and Evolution. Abstracts.

Stephen Jay Gould Archive (sponsored by Art Science Research Laboratory): Cyber Library, Harvard Course:
! B16: History of Earth and Life. A kittenish website. Difficult to set a link, click "Stephen Jay Gould" on the right hand side. Go to:
Lab 1: The Invertebrate Phyla,
! Lab 2: The Fossil Record,
Lab 3: Communities through Time, and
Lab 4: Variation and Evolution (PDF files). See also:
B16: History of Earth and Life, Source Books.
These expired links are now available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

! S.M. Holland (2016): The non-uniformity of fossil preservation. In PDF, Phil. Trans. R. Soc., B 371. See also here (abstract).

Thomas R. Holtz and John W. Merck, Department of Geology, University of Maryland: Invertebrate Paleontology - Principles of Paleontology. Lecture notes. Go to: Taphonomy.
Snapshots provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

! The International Plant Taphonomy Meeting. The International Plant Taphonomy Meetings are informal workshops focusing on recent developments in the science of plant taphonomy. Abstracts available from 1999-2004 and from 2008. A version archived by Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

J.B.C. Jackson and K.G. Johnson (2001): Measuring Past Biodiversity. In PDF, Science, 293.

Robert Wynn Jones:
Applied Palaeontology. (Cambridge University Press). Go to:
! Fossils and fossilisation. In PDF.

Journal of Taphonomy (Prometheus Press). The Journal of Taphonomy is proposed as a venue for publishing the highest quality, data-rich articles on taphonomic research, in all its diversity, from the analysis of burial processes affecting micro-organisms to the study of processes conditioning the modification and preservation of macro-organisms in natural and/or human-created settings.

J.A. Karr and M.E. Clapham (2015): Taphonomic biases in the insect fossil record: shifts in articulation over geologic time. In PDF, Paleobiology.

C.G. Kenchington and P.R. Wilb (2015): Of time and taphonomy: preservation in the Ediacaran. In PDF. See also here.

! Susan M. Kidwell and Steven M. Holland (2002): The Quality of the Fossil Record: Implications for Evolutionary Analyses. PDF file, Annu. Rev. Ecol. Syst., 33: 561-588.

! S.M. Kidwell and K.W. Flessa (1995): The quality of the fossil record: Populations, species, and communities. PDF file, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 26: 269-299.

S.M. Kidwell (2001): Major biases in the fossil record, p. 299-305. PDF file, In: Paleobiology II, A Synthesis (D.E.G. Briggs and PR Crowther, eds.). Oxford: Blackwell.

S.M. Kidwell and S.M. Holland (2002): Quality of the fossil record: implications for evolutionary biology. PDF file, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 33: 561-588.

! S.M. Kidwell et al. (1986): Conceptual framework for the analysis and classification of fossil concentrations. PDF file, Palaios, 1: 228-238.

MICHAL KOWALEWSKI and MICHAEL LABARBERA Actualistic Taphonomy: Death, Decay, and Disintegration in Contemporary Settings. Abstract, Palaios, 2004; v. 19; no. 5; p. 423-427.

V.A. Krassilov (2003): Terrestrial palaeoecology and global change. PDF file (35.6 MB), Russian Academic Monographs No. 1, 464 p., (Pensoft), Sophia.
Worth checking out: "Taphonomy" starting on PDF page 18.

Bruce S. Lieberman and Roger Kaesler (2010): Prehistoric Life Evolution and the Fossil Record. Book announcement (Wiley-Blackwell), including table of contents.
The history of life and the patterns and processes of evolution are especially emphasized, as are the interconnections between our planet, its climate system, and its varied life forms. The book does not just describe the history of life, but uses actual examples from life’s history to illustrate important concepts and theories.
! Available in PDF from here. See especially:
! PDF page 38: "Taphonomy."
PDF page 74: "Introduction to Evolution."
PDF page 123: "Extinctions: The Legacy of the Fossil Record."
PDF page 137: "The Permo-Triassic Mass Extinction—Causes and Consequences."
PDF page 227: "Life, Climate, and Geology."
PDF page 236: "Life Influencing Geology: the Form and Shape of Rivers and the Rocks they Leave Behind."
PDF page 242: "Plants, Oxygen, and Coal: More Examples of Life Affecting the Atmosphere and Geology."

Don Lindsay, Department of Computer Science, University of Colorado, Boulder: Does Science Know How Fossils Form?. A brief taphonomy bibliography.

! R.E. Martin (1999): Taphonomy: A Process Approach (provided by Google Books). Cambridge Paleobiology Series, Cambridge University Press.

R.E. Martin et al. (1999): Taphonomy as an environmental science. In PDF, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 149.

J.R. Moore (2012): Do terrestrial vertebrate fossil assemblages show consistent taphonomic patterns?. In PDF, Palaios, 27: 220-234. See also here (abstract).

G.R. Morton (2003: Non Catastrophic and Modern Fossilization. Provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine. See also here

John Nudds and Paul Selden (2008): Fossil-Lagerstätten. In PDF, Geology Today, Vol. 24.

Nuke ODP, Spain: Geologist Online. Go to: Science: Earth_Sciences: Paleontology: Taphonomy. A link directory.

G.L. Osés et al. (2016): Deciphering the preservation of fossil insects: a case study from the Crato Member, Early Cretaceous of Brazil. PeerJ., 4: e2756.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, WA: Fossils. Easy to understand lecture notes.
Snapshot provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
See especially: Fossils. Powerpoint presentation.

The Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, NY: Hyde Park Mastodon Research, Taphonomy.

M.V. Pardo Alonso, Taphos 2002, Valencia, Spain: CURRENT TOPICS ON TAPHONOMY AND FOSSILIZATION. Book Review. This book, entitled "Current Topics on Taphonomy and Fossilization" results from a general call for papers to be presented in the International Conference Taphos 2002, 3rd Meeting on Taphonomy and Fossilization, Valencia, February 14-16, 2002.

Imogen Poole, Pim F. van Bergen, Johan Kool, Stefan Schouten and David J. Cantrill: Molecular isotopic heterogeneity of fossil organic matter: implications for δ13Cbiomass and δ13Cpalaeoatmosphere proxies. PDF file, Organic Geochemistry 35(11-12) (2004) 1261-1274 (via Virtual Journal Geobiology, volume 3, Issue 9, September 2004, section 2B).

E.C. Raff et al. (2008): Embryo fossilization is a biological process mediated by microbial biofilms. In PDF, PNAS, 105.

Gregory J. Retallack (2011): Exceptional fossil preservation during CO2 greenhouse crises? In PDF, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. See also here (abstract).

Authored by the The Rhynie Chert Research Group, University of Aberdeen, with contributions and support by the Palaeobotanical Research Group, University of Münster, Germany, the Centre for Palynology, University of Sheffield, The Natural History Museum, London, and The Royal Museum, National Museums of Scotland: The Biota of Early Terrestrial Ecosystems, The Rhynie Chert. A resource site for students and teachers covering many aspects of the present knowledge of this unique geological deposit (including a glossary and bibliography pages). Go to: Taphonomy of the Rhynie Chert, and Silicification and the Conversion of Sinter to Chert.

Sue Rigby, Geology, Geophysics, Environmental Geoscience, Grant Institute, University of Edinburgh:
! Fossilization. Powerpoint presentation.

N. Robin et al. (2015): Calcification and Diagenesis of Bacterial Colonies. In PDF, Minerals, 5: 488-506.

G.N. Sadovnikov (2011): On Quantitative and Semiquantitative Analysis of the Paleozoic-Mesozoic Nonmarine Paleoecosystems. In PDF, Paleontological Journal, 45: 105-111.

J.D. Schiffbauer and M. LaFlamme (2012): Lagerstätten through time: A collection of exceptional preservational pathway from the terminal Neoproterozoic through today. In PDF, Palaios.

Sabine Schmidt, Gravity Research Group, Institut für Geowissenschaften, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany: Die Erde.
Now provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine. Go to: Biostratonomie: Fossildiagenese. Scroll down to: "Die Erhaltung von Pflanzen" (in German).

Scholastic Science World: Fossils. Powerpoint presentation. The nuts and bolts of fossil preservation.

J.W. Schopf (1999), article starts on PDF page 105: Fossils and Pseudofossils: Lessons from the Hunt for Early Life on Earth. In PDF; In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Size Limits of Very Small Organisms, Space Studies Board, National Research Council, National Academies Press, Washington, DC. See also here.

Science Online Center: Earth_Sciences - Paleontology - Taphonomy. An annotated link directory.

Shelf and Slope Environmental Taphonomy Initiative (SSETI), Caribbean Marine Research Center, Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas (Organization National Undersea Research Programme Rutgers University). The SSETI programme was established to measure taphonomic rates in a range of continental shelf and slope environments of deposition over an extended period of time.

Roy Shepherd, Discovery Fossils, UK: What is a fossil? Easy to understand introduction.

! P.W. Signor III and J.H. Lipps (1982): Sampling bias, gradual extinction patterns and catastrophes in the fossil record. In PDF, Geological Society of America. This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

! C. Smith (2005): Taphonomy: A resource guide (in PDF).

R.M.H. Smith and J. Botha-Brink (2014): Anatomy of a mass extinction: Sedimentological and taphonomic evidence for drought-induced die-offs at the Permo-Triassic boundary in the main Karoo Basin, South Africa. In PDF, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 396. See also here (abstract).

Selena Y. Smith et al. (2009): Virtual taphonomy using synchrotron tomographic microscopy reveals cryptic features and internal structure of modern and fossil plants. PDF file, PNAS, 106: 12013-12018. See also here (abstract).

C.M. Soja (1999): Using an experiment in burial taphonomy to delve into the fossil record. PDF file, Journal of geoscience education.

S. Aaron Spriggs, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO: Taphonomy: Death Is A Sure Bet, Fossilization Is A Long Shot. Provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

B.A. Stankiewicz et al.: Molecular taphonomy of arthropod and plant cuticles from the Carboniferous of North America: implications for the origin of kerogen. Journal of the Geological Society, June 1, 1998; 155(3): 453 - 462.

TAPHOS 2011, Institute of Geosciences, University of Tübingen. The programme (in PDF) can be downloaded here and there.

Teaching Biology, Random Posts on Biological Topics (by Marc Srour, Enalia Physis Environmental Research Center, Cyprus): Taxonomic Bias in the Fossil Record: Is it really an issue?

! P.F. van Bergen et al. (1995): Resistant biomacromolecules in the fossil record. Abstract, Acta botanica neerlandica. See also here (in PDF).

Roger M. Wells Jr. et al., Department of Geology, State University of New York, Cortland, NY: The Invertebrate Paleontology Tutorial Web Site. Lecture notes. Go to: Taphonomy & Preservation, and Forms of

Friedrich Widdel and Ralf Rabus (2001): Anaerobic biodegradation of saturated and aromatic hydrocarbons. PDF file, Current Opinion in Biotechnology, 12: 259-276.

Mike Viney, The Virtual Petrified Wood Museum: Fossils. In PDF.

Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada: Lecture Resources. Go to:
Fossils and their preservation.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
! Taphonomy.
! Category:Fossilization.
Compression fossil.
Carbonaceous film.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Taphonomy, and Fossilisationslehre (in German).

! M.V.H. Wilson (1988): Taphonomic processes: Information loss and information gain In PDF, Geoscience Canada.

Ewan Wolff, Montana State University Geoscience Education Web Development Team: Advances in Paleontology. Go to: Taphonomy: The Study of Preservation.

xrefer: taphonomy.

K.E. Zeigler et al. (2005): Taphonomic analysis of a fire-related Upper Triassic vertebrate fossil assemblage from north-central New Mexico. PDF file; New Mexico Geological Society, 56th Field Conference Guidebook, Geology of the Chama Basin, 2005, p. 341-351.

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