[meteorite-list] "Fossil" as a 17th century term for excavated meteorite?

From: chris aubeck <caubeck_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007 19:56:01 +0100
Message-ID: <3a5693b30712021056r62cf2164q1b644c69c97aff98_at_mail.gmail.com>

Hi list,

Can anyone tell me when the word "fossil" was first used to describe
meteorites of this kind?

The use of the term to refer to obtaining anything by digging comes
from the early 17th century, its use with chiefly organic remains a
century later (1736). I was wondering whether the word, in the field
of meteorites, had come to us from before 1736.

Fossil: 1619, "obtained by digging" (adj.), from Fr. fossile, from L.
fossilis "dug up," from fossus, pp. of fodere "to dig," from PIE base
*bhedh- "to dig, pierce."




On Dec 2, 2007 5:48 PM, Chauncey Walden <clwaldeniii at comcast.net> wrote:
> Dean, since the loose definition of "fossil" is any evidence of former
> life, obviously a meteorite, well, most;-), cannot be a fossil. Paleo,
> or "old", is the better term, and in the case in discussion represents a
> meteorite that has fallen in past times to the extent of having been
> incorporated into what became a geologic formation and, in some cases,
> weathered out again. Your confusion seems to be between fossilization,
> or the preservation of any evidence of former life (like a basically
> unaltered mammoth tusk in the Artic), and petrification, or the
> replacement or pereservation of material by the introduction of silica,
> like petrified wood. The interesting thing, is that in well preserved
> petrified wood the cellulose can remain. The silica can be dissolved out
> and the cellulose structure captured and studied, even to the extent of
> taking biologic stains.
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Received on Sun 02 Dec 2007 01:56:01 PM PST

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