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Jaquet Droz Loving Butterfly Automaton: Millions Of Years In The Making
by Joshua Munchow
Fossils are a strange creation.
Depending on how much you paid attention in science class, you may remember that fossils are usually not the preserved remains of a long-dead plant or creature. In pretty much every single fossil, there is none of the original organism left. All that is there is stone; specifically, mineral deposits that replace rotten bones and organs and replicate the shape of an organism that once lived.
There are always some exceptions, but fossilization is usually a form of the process of permineralization in which the organic material is slowly replaced with tiny deposits of silica, calcite, pyrite, and even opal.
The organic structures are dissolved and filled in by mineral deposits, taking the shape of the structures before hardening into stone. The exact conditions direct what kind of fossil it becomes and how detailed the fossil will be. When people find fossils of dinosaurs, ancient plants, aquatic life, and traces of the earliest bacteria (yup, those fossils exist), they find something akin to a mineral casting of the internal structures of the original cells.
Bones, skin, feathers, leaves, and shells all have been replaced by minerals in one form or another through a variety of specific processes depending on when, where, and how the organism was preserved. In most cases it requires being covered rapidly at or near the time of death to inhibit or completely stop the natural processes of decomposition. This is best done in an oxygen-free environment, so being covered in thick mud, volcanic ash, or some sediment are some of the best ways to get fossilized.
https://quillandpad.com/2020/04/12/jaqu ... he-making/
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“Your heart was warm and happy
With the lilt of Irish laughter
Every day and in every way
Now forever and ever after."