Definition of taphonomy in English:

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Pronunciation: /taˈfɒnəmi/


[mass noun]
The branch of palaeontology that deals with the processes of fossilization.
Example sentences
  • The sedimentology, taphonomy and palaeoecology of the Dinosaur Park Formation have been studied in detail.
  • I've already praised the dinosaur distribution chapter for its utility, but I was puzzled to see the biogeography chapter separate from it, with intervening chapters on taphonomy and paleoecology.
  • The taphonomy and paleoecology of this giant foraminiferan are briefly evaluated based on comparison with modern examples of Bathysiphon and with other Cretaceous examples from the same region.



Pronunciation: /tafəˈnɒmɪk/
Example sentences
  • Thus, any taphonomic bias that affects graptolite preservation in the lower Hirnantian applies to all study areas being considered here.
  • To accomplish these, however, a more thorough paleontological investigation of each taphonomic facies is necessary.
  • All told, Europe boasts a richer Paleogene avifauna in terms of number and taphonomic variety of fossil localities and diversity of avian taxa compared with other continents.


Example sentences
  • By helping to solve puzzles like this, taphonomists increase our understanding of the fossil record.
  • The probability of fossilization is investigated by taphonomists and geologists, who have concluded that it usually is very low.
  • Intensive interdisciplinary research by archaeologists, anthropologists, geologists, taphonomists, animal behaviourists and psychologists has proved Darwin right on both scores.


1940s: from Greek taphos 'grave' + -nomy.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: taph|onomy

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