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A fossil, as of a pollen grain or unicellular organism, that is too small to study with the naked eye.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(Palaeontology) a fossil generally less than 0.5 millimetre in size, such as a protozoan, bacterium, or pollen grain
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌmaɪ kroʊˈfɒs ɪl)

a fossil so small that it can be studied and identified only with a microscope.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.microfossil - a fossil that must be studied microscopicallymicrofossil - a fossil that must be studied microscopically
fossil - the remains (or an impression) of a plant or animal that existed in a past geological age and that has been excavated from the soil
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References in periodicals archive ?
1996: Scientists announced that a meteorite from Mars had been found in Antarctica, containing microfossils of bacteria.
Algal microfossils provide high temporal resolution of environmental trends.
A single specimen of penaeid shrimp and numerous cancrid crabs, referred to Metacarcinus danai Nations, were collected in association with a mixed assemblage of terrestrial plants, a few bivalves, marine mammals, and numerous taxa of microfossils. Living species of Metacarcinus are found in temperate, normal-marine conditions in water depths up to about 100 m.
The book includes various images - about 30 of which are colour - which show fossils and their living counterparts, microfossils and their modern counterparts, and areas where the earliest evidence of life and environments have been discovered.
The blobs, say excited scientists, are microfossils left by ancient bugs.
To be accepted as bona fide, ancient microfossils must be structurally preserved biogenic remnants that are indigenous to and syngenetic with the primary deposition of sedimentary rocks of known stratigraphic and geographic source and established age (5, 14).
Permian plant microfossils from the Flowerpot Formation, Greer County, Oklahoma.
When these bits of material were eventually studied by electron microscope, they showed themselves unmistakably to be microfossils, or remnants of simple cells.
Paleontologists retrieve microfossils from sediment samples with sieves, chemicals, filters, and centrifuges, in some cases recovering millions of tiny skeletons from a sample smaller than your thumb.
Calcareous microfossils from the Upper Triassic of northeastern New Mexico.
For example, the earliest microfossils show that life began on our planet 3.5 billion years ago, or only shortly after Earth's crust had cooled from its molten state.
With the help of microfossils, the sediment layers where the skeleton was positioned were precisely dated to the middle Eocene, 42.6 million years ago.