microfossil

noun

mi·​cro·​fos·​sil ˌmī-krō-ˈfä-səl How to pronounce microfossil (audio)
: 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 Conceivably, there is still cryptic life on Mars, although astrobiologists would be thrilled to find even a microfossil of something that lived billions of years ago. Joel Achenbach, BostonGlobe.com, 21 Feb. 2023 The less-than-attractive scientific name of this less-than-attractive microfossil calls out its winkled, bag-like body and mouth resembling a crown. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, 30 Jan. 2017 The most complex microfossil consists of a stem with parallel branches on one side that is nearly a centimeter long. David Bressan, Forbes, 14 Apr. 2022 At around 1 billion years old, the seaweed microfossil — a type of algae known as Proterocladus antiquus — is the oldest green seaweed known to man. Joshua Bote, USA TODAY, 27 Feb. 2020 The freckles, Virginia Tech researchers say, are actually billion-year-old seaweed microfossils. Alaa Elassar, CNN, 26 Feb. 2020 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, 24 Apr. 2014 All of these microfossils — or the chemical evidence associated with them — are hotly debated. Quanta Magazine, 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, 20 May 2019 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'microfossil.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1924, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of microfossil was in 1924

Dictionary Entries Near microfossil

Cite this Entry

“Microfossil.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/microfossil. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on microfossil

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!