Geologic Processes of Evolution


Carbonization
Petrifaction
Replacement
Recrystallization
Soft-Tissue Preservation
Mummification
Organic Traps
Tar
Peat Moss


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Fossilization Process

Carbonization

Plants are most commonly fossilized through carbonization. In this process, the mobile oils in the plant's organic matter are leached out and the remaining matter is reduced to a carbon film. Plants have an inner structure of rigid organic walls that may be preserved in this manner, revealing the framework of the original cells. Animal soft tissue has a less rigid cellular structure and is rarely preserved through carbonization. Although paleontologists have found the carbonized skin of some ichthyosaurs, marine reptiles from the Mesozoic Era (240 to 65 million years before present), the microscopic structure of the skin was not preserved.