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

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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 And the researchers believe the results show that these microfossils are not impostors. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Hotly debated 3.5 billion-year-old microbe fossils get another look," 3 Jan. 2018 Now, a comprehensive analysis of the microfossils suggests that these formations do indeed represent ancient microbes; ones potentially so complex that life on our planet must have originated some 500 million years earlier. Roni Dengler, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Earth’s oldest life, a NASA mission to Titan, and whether growing up poor makes you wiser," 22 Dec. 2017 One geoscientist had to make countless trips up and down the stairs of the department building to personally hand off each microfossil to a technician for polishing. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Oldest Fossils On Earth Nearly 3.5 Billion Years Old," 19 Dec. 2017 But he is concerned that the microfossils may have been badly preserved. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Life may have originated on Earth 4 billion years ago, study of controversial fossils suggests," 18 Dec. 2017

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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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about microfossil

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