Freshly killed, soft-bodied, and lightly skeletized animals display considerable resistance to skeletal damage during transport under experimental conditions. This resistance diminishes as decay advances. In addition, a high degree of decay-induced disarticulation may occur with minimal transport when carcasses are buoyed up from the sediment-water interface by decay gases. Decay, rather than nature or duration of transport, determines the completeness of fossil soft-bodied and poorly mineralized animals.

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