Fossils: Window to the past
What is freezing?
This type of fossilization preserves an organism wholly without any
significant alteration to its chemical composition. The
parts of the organism that are usually preserved are muscles, tendons,
and skin. In a typical fossilization, the hard parts of the organism
are preserved when the organism's soft parts are replaced by other stable
organic materials or mineral substances from the environment. This type
of fossilization encompasses the organism in an inert environment to prevent any
or little changes within the organism. Freezing is one of the ways to slow
down the decomposition of soft parts.
What are the conditions for freezing?
So how did organisms remain in these circumstances for millions
of years? Assuming that the organism is an animal, it most likely fell
into a melted-out ice crevice. This animal was then entombed
in a fatal and freezing predicament. A common example of this type
fossilization could be a woolly mammoth frozen in a permafrost region of Siberia
and Alaska. These animals probably died during the late Ice Age. Paleontologists
rarely come across mastodons, woolly rhinoceros, horses, moose, bison, musk oxen,
and other animals.