Although the term “taphonomy” was coined by Ivan Efremov (1907–1972) in 1940 for the study of the various processes leading to fossil assemblages, a number of taphonomic experiments already had been undertaken in the early 19th century. Thus, while still in his thirties, John Lindley (1799–1865) showed that biodegradation of plant leaves in water is selective. Of the 86 angiosperm species he investigated, only 8 (9.3%) survived two years when kept in an iron tank. On the other hand, 13 of the 16 conifers (81.25%) remained intact (Lindley and Hutton, 1831– 1837). Another plant taphonomist avant la...

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