Trace Fossils are biogenic sediment structures, or fossilized structures produced in rocks, sediments and grains by the life processes of organisms. Their study comprises the discipline Palaeoichnology.

Both endobenthic and epibenthic animals, deriving from virtually all the phyla, can produce biogenic sediment structures.

Trace fossils are very important as they provide the interface between sedimentology and palaeontology, two important parts of palaeoenvironmental interpretation.

Trace Fossils

Trace fossils, referred sometimes to as ichnofossils, are fundamentally different from body fossils in that they are a result of an organism's behaviour, rather than body or skeletal parts of an organism.

The biological information derived from modern environments cannot be applied always directly to trace fossils. The activity of living organisms is separated from equivalent trace fossils by the so-called fossilization barrier. This is because of the continuous processing of sediments which influence the preservation potential. Another troublesome aspect occurs because although a burrow at any one time may have a well defined construction, its frequent migration through the substrate and alteration generates cumulative structures having a different morphology.

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