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Fossils are the remnants or traces of living organisms that has usually undergone a process of mineralisation to replace the living components with other minerals.
A fossilised trilobite, Trilobite Elrathi kingii, Age: Mid Cambrian. Wheeler Formation, Antelope, Range, Delta, Utah USA. image: R.Conan-Davies
Fossils range in size from the microscopic to very large organisms that are now mostly extinct. Fossils form the critical evidence for the study of palaeontology.
The word fossil comes from Classical Latin fossilis; literally meaning, "obtained by digging”.