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! Special Topics of Plant Taphonomy@
! Abscission and Tissue Separation in Fossil and Extant Plants@
! Taphonomy in General@
Abscission and Tissue Separation in Fossil and Extant Plants@
Permineralized Plants and Petrified Forests@
Fossil Charcoal@

Teaching Documents about Taphonomy

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.

! 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).

Masdouq Al-Taj, Hashemite University, Jordan:
Introduction Palaeontology. Lecture notes, Powerpoint presentation.

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI):
How does a living thing become a fossil?
Why do some things become fossils, but others do not?
Teaching and Learning Focus.

! Nan Crystal Arens, C. Strömberg and A. Thompson, Department of Integrative Biology, and Paleobotany Section, Museum of Paleontology (UCMP), University of California at Berkeley: Virtual Paleobotany, Lab. III, Conditions Required for Plant Fossil Preservation.

A.K. Behrensmeyer (1992; Google books): Terrestrial ecosystems through time. Read "Taphonomy", page 4.

! A.K. Behrensmeyer et al. (2000): Taphonomy and Paleobiology. In PDF, Paleobiology, 26: 103-147.
See also here.
Note figure 6: Intrinsic and extrinsic changes with the potential for major effects on taphonomic processes and organic preservation over geologic time.

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: Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record. Go to:
! Companion Website: Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record. On this website you can download the figures in jpeg format at standard resolution (96 dpi) for viewing on screen and at a higher resolution (300 dpi) for downloading. They can also be downloaded as a Powerpoint file for each chapter.
! See also here (in PDF).
For better navigation note the table of contents (in PDF).

University of California, Berkeley: Biology 1B - Lecture 24: Taphonomy & Paleontology. Videos, Youtube. See also here.

D.J. Bottjer (2016): Paleoecology: past, present, and future. (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.). See also here (Google books).
Please note chapter "Taphonomy", start on PDF page 39.

Jamie Boyer, The New York Botanical Garden: The Paleoplant Website. An educational resource for students and teachers studying Earth's history, fossils, and evolution. Go to:
What is Paleobotany?
Scroll down to: ! "Types of Fossilization".

Suzanne Bowie, The palaeofiles, Dept. of Earth Sciences University of Bristol: Experimental taphonomy.
The link is to a version archived by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

! C.E. Brett and J.R. Thomka (2013): Fossils and Fossilisation. In PDf. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001621.pub2.
Note figure 2: Aspects of orientation of skeletal materials.
Biostratinomic processes affect potential fossil remains between death and final burial, including decay of organic parts, disarticulation, fragmentation, abrasion, bioerosion and dissolution. Fossil diagenesis constitutes processes that affect organic remains subsequent to burial such as dissolution, compaction and early and late mineralisation. Taphonomy reveals biases of the fossil record and also provides insights into depositional rates and processes.

! 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).

Derek Briggs, University of Bristol: The role of biofilms in the fossilization of non-biomineralized tissues (now via wayback archive).

! 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.

Produced by MSc Palaeobiology Students, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol: Fossil Lagerstätten. A catalogue of sites of exceptional fossil preservation.
Still available via Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Brock University, St. Catharines, ON, Canada:
ERSC 1F90. Links to Powerpoint Presentations. Go to:
Fossils and mass extinctions.

! G.C. Cadeé (1991): The history of taphonomy. PDF file. In: Donovan, S.K. (ed.), The Processes of Fossilization. Belhaven Press, London, pp. 3 –21. "A consortium of Lebanese universities that have collected some of the best content sites of the web" (but no information available who is behind this websites):
Themes. A structured link directory. Go to:
What can fossils tell us? Information provided by:
See also:
Fossils And Fossilisation.
Websites outdated. Links lead to versions archived by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

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.

Rick Cheel, Department of Earth Sciences, Brock University: Fossils. Powerpoint presentation.

Chris (?), Peripatus Home Page, New Zealand: Paleontology Page, What are lagerstätten?
This expired link is available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

C.J. Cleal and B.A. Thomas (1995): Palaeozoic Palaeobotany of Great Britain, Introduction. PDF file, Geological Conservation Review Series, No. 9.
This expired link is now available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.
! Note figure 1.3: The potential processes involved in a plant fragment passing into the fossil record.
! Figure 1.4: Summary of modes and nomenclature of plant fossil preservation.

J.J. Collins and K. Lindstrom, University of California Museum of Paleontology: Getting Into the Fossil Record. Easy to understand websites.

Richard Cowen, Department of Geology, University of California, Davis, CA: History of Life, Third Edition.
Go to: Preservation and Bias in the Fossil Record.
These expired links are now available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Deer Creek High School, Edmond, USA:
12.1 The Fossil Record Permineralization, part 3. Lecture notes, Powerpoint preservation.

! N.K. Dhami et al. (2023): Microbially mediated fossil concretions and their characterization by the latest methodologies: a review. Free access, Frontiers in Microbiology, 14: 1225411. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2023.1225411.
Note figure 1: The three broad modes of fossilization.
Figure 6: Visual representation of the factors involved in formation of iron carbonate concretions in freshwater influenced environments.
! Figure 7: Flow diagram for analytical methods applicable to microbial fossil concretions, modern and ancient.
Figure 8: Completing the story of fossilization. Conceptual framework to establish fossilization processes and interrogate their biochemical record.
"... we provide a comprehensive account of organic geochemical, and complimentary inorganic geochemical, morphological, microbial and paleontological, analytical methods, including recent advancements, relevant to the characterization of concretions and sequestered OM [organic matter] ..."

The Digital Atlas of Ancient Life (DAoAL), managed by the Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, New York.
The goal of the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life project is to provide a free resource to help individuals identify and better understand fossil species from particular regions and time intervals.
Note the resources for teachers: Classroom lesson plans, activities, and associated materials that relate to either the Neogene or Ordovician Atlas. All of these resources may be freely accessed and downloaded here.

! The Digital Encyclopedia of Ancient Life (DEAL), part of the Digital Atlas of Ancient Life project by the Paleontological Research Institution, Ithaca, New York: This is an online, open-access textbook, currently under development. The goal of DEAL is to produce a comprehensive paleontological textbook with coverage of all major groups of organisms, including plants.
! Note the chapter on Embryophytes, by E.J. Hermsen. The pages covering general botanical subjects such as vascular plant structure, leaf structure and evolution, and plant life cycles.

M. Domínguez-Rodrigo et al. (2011): How Can Taphonomy Be Defined in the XXI Century? In PDF, Journal of Taphonomy, 9: 1-13.

Duden Learnattack GmbH, Lernhelfer:
Fossilisation (in German).

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).

Neal L. Evenhuis, Department of Natural Sciences, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii: Fossil Diptera Catalog, TAPHONOMY.
Provided by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

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.

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.:

Deborah Freile, New Jersey City University: Historical Geology. Go to: Fossilisation. Powerpoint presentation.

! R.A. Gastaldo and T.M. Demko (2011): The relationship between continental landscape evolution and the plant-fossil record: long term hydrologic controls on preservation. In PDF, Taphonomy: 249-285.
See also here.

! 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. See also: A Brief Introduction to PALEOBOTANY.
These expired links are still available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

! Robert A. Gastaldo, Department of Geology, Colby College, Waterville, Maine: A Brief Introduction to Taphonomy (Gastaldo, Savrda, & Lewis. 1996. Deciphering Earth History: A Laboratory Manual with Internet Exercises. Contemporary Publishing Company of Raleigh, Inc. ISBN 0-89892-139-2).
See also: Plant Taphonomy.
These expired links are available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

C.T. Gee, V.E. McCoy, P.M. Sander (eds., 2021). Fossilization: Understanding the Material Nature of Ancient Plants and Animals.
Google books.

P. Gerrienne et al. (2022): Earliest Evidence of Land Plants in Brazil. In PDF, In: Iannuzzi, R., Rößler, R., Kunzmann, L. (eds.): Brazilian Paleofloras. Springer.
See also here.
! Worth checking out: "Taphonomy of the Early Taphofloras from the Paraná Basin" (starting on PDF page 18).

! D.R. Greenwood (1991): The Taphonomy of Plant Macrofossils. PDF file, chapter 7, pp. 141-169;
In: Donovan, S.K. (Ed.) The Processes of Fossilization. Belhaven Press, London, 303 pp.
Worth checking out: Book review (by M. Romano).

John Groves, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA: Fossils and Evolution. Powerpoint presentation.

! Daniel Hauptvogel, Virginia Sisson et al. (2023), Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Houston:
The Story of Earth: An Observational Guide 2e . Second edition (Pressbooks), Open access. You can download a printable PDF version.
Navigate from the content menue page. Note especially:
! Chapter 6: Fossil Preservation.

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.

A.P. Hunt and S.G. Lucas (2023): The Four Principal Megabiases in the Known Fossil Record: Taphonomy, Rock Preservation, Fossil Discovery and Fossil Study. Open access, Proceedings, 87. IECG2022-13956.

D.C. Kendrick, Hobart & Wm Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY:
! Fossils and Their Preservation. See also here.

Kentucky Geological Survey, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY:
Fossils of the Month. Go to:
! Fossil of the month: Calamites.
Note the illustration: How fossils are formed from pith casts, external, and internal casts and impressions.

H. Kerp and M. Krings (2023): The Early Devonian Rhynie chert–The world's oldest and most complete terrestrial ecosystem. PDF file, starting on PDF page 44. In: J. Reitner, M. Reich, J.-P. Duda (eds.): Abstracts, Fossillagerstätten and Taphonomy.

Trey Kieckhefer: What Is Taphonomy? Powerpoint presentation.

! S.M. Kidwell and S.M. Holland (2002): The Quality of the Fossil Record: Implications for Evolutionary Analyses. PDF file, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 33: 561-588. See also here.

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.

J. Louys (2012; ed.): Paleontology in Ecology and Conservation. In PDF, Springer Earth System Sciences, DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-25038-5_3, See also here. Note especially:
! Starting on PDF page 1: Chapter 1 Paleontology in Ecology and Conservation: An Introduction (by J. Louys).
! Starting on PDF page 23: Chapter 3 Ecology Needs a Paleontological Perspective (by J.Louys, D.M. Wilkinson, and L.C. Bishop).
! Starting on PDF page 39: Chapter 4 Reconciling Scale in Paleontological and Neontological Data: Dimensions of Time, Space, and Taxonomy (by J.B. Bennington and M.F.J. Aronson).

! R.L. Lyman (2010): What Taphonomy Is, What it Isn´t, and Why Taphonomists Should Care about the Difference. In PDF, Journal of Taphonomy, 8.
See also here.

! 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.
"... Over the last decade, however, the applied Earth sciences have moved from an emphasis on resource exploration and exploitation toward one of resource conservation and management. In this respect, paleontology holds a tremendous advantage over ecology in that most ecologic studies are of too short a duration to assess the long-term (time-averaged) impact of environmental perturbations ..."

R.C. Martindale and A.M. Weiss (2020): “Taphonomy: Dead and fossilized”: A new board game designed to teach college undergraduate students about the process of fossilization. In PDF, Journal of Geoscience Education, 68: 265-285.

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

! L.A. Parry et al. (2018): Soft-Bodied Fossils Are Not Simply Rotten Carcasses – Toward a Holistic Understanding of Exceptional Fossil Preservation. Exceptional Fossil Preservation Is Complex and Involves the Interplay of Numerous Biological and Geological Processes.
Abstract, BioEssays, 40: 1700167. See also here (in PDF).
Note figure 1: The long journey from live organism to fossil. "... soft-bodied fossils have passed through numerous filters prior to discovery that remove, modify, or preserve anatomical characters. ..."
"... Although laboratory decay experiments reveal important aspects of fossilization, applying the results directly to the interpretation of exceptionally preserved fossils may overlook the impact of other key processes that remove or preserve morphological information".

Sue Rigby, Geology, Geophysics, Environmental Geoscience, Grant Institute, University of Edinburgh:
! Fossilization. Powerpoint presentation.
Still available via Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Teaching Paleontology in the 21st Century. On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty; Go to:
! Michael Savarese, Florida Gulf Coast University: The Fidelity of the Fossil Record: Using Preservational Characteristics of Fossils within an Assemblage to Interpret the Relative State of Spatial and Temporal Fidelity. About the concept of temporal and spatial fidelity, the different types of fossil assemblages, and how the taphonomic characteristics of an assemblage can be used to assess the relative state of fidelity. See especially: Fossil Assemblage Characteristics, and Mechanism Caused Exceptional Preservation (PowerPoint Presentations).

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

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.
See also here.

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.

! A. Scott and M. Collinson (1983): Investigating fossil plant beds. Part 2: Methods of palaeoenvironmental analysis and modelling and suggestions for experimental work. In PDF, Geology Teaching, 8. !Excellent!

! A. Scott and M. Collinson (1982): Investigating fossil plant beds. Part 1: The origin of fossil plants and their sediments. PDF file, Geology Teaching, 7: 114-122. Excellent!

Space Studies Board, National Research Council, Washington, DC.
The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine.
Size Limits of Very Small Microorganisms. Proceedings of a workshop, debating the question of minimal microbial size. Go to:
J. William Schopf, Fossils and Pseudofossils: Lessons from the Hunt for Early Life on Earth, or:
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.
Snapshots taken by the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

Jessica Spratt, The Hooper Virtual Natural History Museum, Department of Earth Sciences, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario: Vertebrate Taphonomy.

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.

D.C. Steart (2003): The Fate of Leaves in South Eastern Australian Terrestrial and Aquatic Environments: Implications for taphonomic bias in the Tertiary macrofossil record. In PDF, Thesis, Victoria University.
See also here.
! Note figure 1.5 (PDF page 64): Generalised diagram outlining the fate of aerial canopy parts in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.

M. Waskom et al. (2023): Stuck in the mud: experimental taphonomy and computed tomography demonstrate the critical role of sediment in three-dimensional carcass stabilization during early fossil diagenesis. Preprint, in PDF.
"... After 64 weeks, specimens are still detectable as three-dimensional voids that capture the body in life position and external morphological features. Sediment plays a critical role in carcass stabilization and the resulting voids provide sites for mineral precipitation needed for exceptional three-dimensional fossilization ..."

! Roger M. Wells Jr., College at Cortland, State University of New York: Invertebrate Paleontology Tutorial, Taphonomy & Preservation.
Still available via Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Department of Earth Sciences, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.
Western Technology Services, Earth Evolution: Surface Life and Climate: Earth Sciences 089G: Lecture Resources. See also here. Go to:
Fossils and their preservation.
Fossil preservation processes.
Powerpoint presentations.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Taphonomy.

Ewan Wolff, Montana State University Geoscience Education Web Development Team: Advances in Paleontology.
Still available through the Internet Archive´s Wayback Machine.

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