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Mummies Are Fossils

According to the Great Archaeology; History of Archaeology’s online glossary, the definition of a fossil is “the recognizable remains such as bones shells or leaves other evidence tracks burrows impressions of past life on Earth. ” In more simple terms, a fossil is the preserved evidence of structured organic material that once lived on earth. The same glossary defines a mummy as “a corpse whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or incidental exposure to chemicals, extreme coldness, very high humidity, or lack of air when bodies are submerged in bogs. In summary, a mummy is structured organic material (a human, animal, insect, etc. ) that humans or nature has preserved. Therefore, a mummy is a fossil because, the definition of a mummy, fits into the definition of a fossil. The Enchanted Learning’s dinosaur fossil page divides types of fossils into two categories, fossilized body parts and trace fossils. The University of California’s Museum of Paleontology has further classified types of fossils, based on the processes available, for a fossil to form.

These diverse and distinct classifications are as follows: ? Compactions: organic substance preserved with a reduction in size ? Molecular: organic substance is present but the organism’s physical structure is not present. ? Permineraliation: organic substance decay and minerals fill into the organism’s form. ? Compression: organic substance of organism is retained when compressed under pressure for lengthy time. ? Casts & Molds: sediment fills cavities of organism and leaves 3-D remnant. Impressions: imprint of organism without the presence of organic substance. ? Trace Fossils: impressions of movement over a surface (i. e. footprints). ? Coprolites & Gastroliths: remains of meals that were indigestible. ? Amber: entire organism structure encased in hardened sap of tree, preserving entire specimen intact. ? Drying & Desiccation: entire organism structure that has thoroughly dried, preserving entire specimen intact. ? Freezing: entire organism structure that has been thoroughly frozen and kept frozen over time, preserving entire specimen intact. Wax & Asphalt: similar to freezing but preserved intact with natural paraffin or within tar pit. In order for a mummy to form, the original organism had to participate in a preservation process that retained the entire organic structure, and kept the skin, organs, etc. intact. It is in the fossilization formation processes (amber, drying & desiccation, freezing, or wax & asphalt) that animal, human, or insect mummies are formed—intentional or incidental. Mummies are fossils.

Resources: Great Archaeology, History of Archaeology online glossary: http://www. greatarchaeology. com/glossary. php? archaeology_glossary=f http://www. greatarchaeology. com/glossary. php? archaeology_glossary=m University of California Museum of Paleontology, Mani K. , December 1996, Stephanie Pullen, April 2004, http://www. ucmp. berkeley. edu/paleo/fossils/ Enchanted Learning website: http://www. enchantedlearning. com/subjects/dinosaurs/dinofossils/Fossiltypes. html