trace fossil


: a fossil (as of a dinosaur footprint) that shows the activity of an animal or plant but is not formed from the organism itself

Examples of trace fossil in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The bird tracks are not the only trace fossils in the rocks. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 15 Nov. 2023 What bees typically leave are trace fossils or ichnofossils — imprints frozen in time of bodies, abandoned or active nests, or old burrows. Sarah Derouin, New York Times, 20 Aug. 2023 But the trace fossils—scrapes and scours in the rock—reveal the shape and behavior of animals that lived millions of years before the dinosaurs. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2023 Respectively referred to as impression and trace fossils, these types of fossils represent a few of the most prevalent processes of preservation, alongside body fossilization. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 28 Mar. 2023 In other words, the scientists had discovered the rarest of the rare: trace fossils within a trace fossil. Jeanne Timmons, Ars Technica, 6 June 2022 Determining what sort of organism made a trace fossil, including those on the Dave Green paleosurface, can be a challenging task. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2023 But trace fossils are actual records of how prehistoric species behaved. Riley Black, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Mar. 2023 Tony Martin, a trace fossil expert and professor at Emory University and unaffiliated with the study, said the new findings are in line with past estimates. Jon Tennant, Discover Magazine, 28 Jan. 2016 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'trace fossil.' 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

1956, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of trace fossil was in 1956

Dictionary Entries Near trace fossil

Cite this Entry

“Trace fossil.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

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