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1. The study of the events and processes, such as burial in sediment, transportation, and decomposition, that affect the remains of an organism after it dies.
2. These events and processes, especially those leading up to preservation or fossilization.

[Greek taphē, grave + -nomy.]

taph′o·nom′ic (tăf′ə-nŏm′ĭk) adj.
ta·phon′o·mist n.


(Palaeontology) the study of the processes affecting an organism after death that result in its fossilization
[C20: from Greek taphos grave + -nomy]
taphonomic, ˌtaphoˈnomical adj


(təˈfɒn ə mi)

1. the circumstances and processes of fossilization.
2. the study of the environmental conditions affecting fossilization.
[1965–70; < Greek táph(ē) grave + -o- + -nomy]
taph•o•nom•ic (ˌtæf əˈnɒm ɪk) adj.
ta•phon′o•mist, n.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Forensic Taphonomy and Ecology of North American Scavengers
Taphonomy of small mammal fossil assemblages from the Middle Miocene Chinji Formation, Siwalik Group, Pakistan.
Sequence stratigraphy, biostratigraphy, and taphonomy in shallow marine environments, Palaeos, 10, 597-616.
Duday 2006, 2009), and is informing studies of body treatment, taphonomy, and commingling (e.
14]C data to investigate the taphonomy of ecofactual remains present within sod dwellings and determine which ecofact(s) provide the most reliable ,4C ages in such situations; and 3) establish a hierarchy of suitability for the dating of ecofacts from Nunalleq that can inform dating decisions on other archaeological sites in the New World Arctic.
Her current focus is in the area of forensic taphonomy - the study of the postmortem changes to human remains, focusing largely on environmental effects such as decomposition.
The innovative and multidisciplinary research proposed herein will resolve these issues by employing a powerful three-fold approach combining decay experiments, maturation experiments and fossil analysis to the study of the taphonomy of key pigments (melanins, carotenoids and pterins) and colour-producing structures in insects and feathers.
Taphonomy of mammalian fossil remains from Siwalik rocks of Pakistan.
Paleoecology and taphonomy of an edrioasteroid-encrusted hardground association from tentaculitid limestones in the Early Devonian of New York: a Paleozoic rocky peritidal community.
While some British universities have hosted sites for human taphonomy - the study of what happens to a body after death - they have been limited to using animal remains, usually pigs.