microfossil

noun
mi·​cro·​fos·​sil | \ ˌmī-krō-ˈfä-səl How to pronounce microfossil (audio) \

Definition of microfossil

: a small fossil that typically can be studied only microscopically and that may be either a fragment of a larger organism or an entire minute organism

Examples of microfossil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The scientists discovered the cave while searching for microfossils to buttress their then-radical theory that microbial life flourished on land more than a billion years ago. Peter Byrne, Quanta Magazine, "Early Life in Death Valley," 24 Apr. 2014 All of these microfossils — or the chemical evidence associated with them — are hotly debated. Quanta Magazine, "Fossil Discoveries Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start," 22 Jan. 2018 Paleosols are typically full of pollen and microfossils of simple organisms, such as diatoms, a kind of algae that can indicate climate conditions. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "Rising Seas Swallowed Countless Archaeological Sites. Scientists Want Them Back," 20 May 2019 And where there are geochemical signs of life, there could also be microfossils. Peter Byrne, Quanta Magazine, "Early Life in Death Valley," 24 Apr. 2014 The sediment layers where the skeleton was positioned, known as microfossils, were crucial to determining the quadrupedal whale's age, around 42.6 million years ago. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Ancient Pacific Whales Lived On Land Like Rhinos," 4 Apr. 2019 Researchers will analyze sediment samples from the test pits for traces of pollen and microfossils that might yield clues as to whether the stones were built in an intertidal marsh, a wooded area, or on farmland. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "The lost standing stones of Devon are still hiding from archaeologists," 1 July 2018 Scientists know this thanks to a handful of ancient teeth, whose plaque revealed microfossils of fish scales, fish flesh and starch granules. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "How Ancient Teeth Reveal The Roots of Humankind," 2 July 2018 Nestled inside the dusty fragments are millions of microfossils—preserved remains of pollen spores, leaf litter, wood and other debris. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "How the Ancestors of Birds Survived the Dino-Killing Asteroid," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'microfossil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of microfossil

1924, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of microfossil was in 1924

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Cite this Entry

“Microfossil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microfossil. Accessed 20 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on microfossil

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about microfossil

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