taphonomy

noun
ta·phon·o·my | \tə-ˈfä-nə-mē, ta-\

Definition of taphonomy 

: the study of the processes (such as burial, decay, and preservation) that affect animal and plant remains as they become fossilized also : the processes themselves

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from taphonomy

taphonomic \ˌta-fə-ˈnä-mik \ adjective
taphonomist \tə-ˈfä-nə-mist, ta- \ noun

Examples of taphonomy in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The taphonomy of how skin and protofeathers preserve, or do not, is little known, and the positive presence of skin can’t automatically be taken as an indication protofeathers were absent. Brian Switek, Scientific American Blog Network, "Long Live the Fuzzy T. rex," 14 June 2017 Paleoanthropological and paleoecological implications of the taphonomy of a sabertooth’s den Journal of Human Evolution, 29 (6), 515-547 DOI: 10.1006/jhev.1995.1074 MILFORD H. WOLPOFF, JOHN HAWKS, BRIGITTE SENUT, MARTIN PICKFORD, JAMES AHERN (2006). Brian Switek, WIRED, "Toumai and the Sabercats," 20 Jan. 2011

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

First Known Use of taphonomy

1940, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for taphonomy

Greek taphē burial + English -nomy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about taphonomy

Statistics for taphonomy

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for taphonomy

The first known use of taphonomy was in 1940

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on taphonomy

See words that rhyme with taphonomy

Comments on taphonomy

What made you want to look up taphonomy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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