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I was reading on fossilization and I came across petrifaction. Are fossils that take the shape (have the shape) of the original organism made of only stone or iron? Can there be a fossil made of any other substance?

Wikipedia mentions stone/iron fossils:

The minerals commonly involved in replacement are calcite, silica, pyrite, and hematite.

Are all minerals involved in "replacement" a stone/iron material, or are other materials ever involved in this process?

Thank you.

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  • $\begingroup$ what does your research show about how fossils form? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 5:03
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    $\begingroup$ "stone" covers literally every naturally occurring solid on earth not made by an organism and quite a few that are. if they were not made of stone what would they be made of? $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ I’m voting to close this question because homework questions are off topic without showing some prior research. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 21:34
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    $\begingroup$ This is not a homework question. I am just trying to understand some aspects of fossils to see a link between this and something else. I understood some basics of fossils from YouTube though the information I see is very confusing regarding details. I do not have education on the subject. $\endgroup$
    – Lynn B.
    Commented Apr 25, 2022 at 1:36
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    $\begingroup$ Also note that I have read the article @ wikipedia.org/wiki/Petrifaction and I have watched YouTube videos which point into the direction of stone/iron fossils. In the wiki article, I was trying to understand what the author(s) meant when he said "The minerals commonly involved in replacement are calcite, silica, pyrite, and hematite." I missed the part about hematite being of iron. When the author said 'commonly involved' I wanted to know if fossils can also only be of stone/iron in the uncommon sense (other materials). $\endgroup$
    – Lynn B.
    Commented Apr 25, 2022 at 1:53

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Fossilization can occur using literally any mineral that is water soluble, which nearly all of them are. The problem you are running into is "fossil" covers a huge range of things, from insects in amber to shell casts, to permineralized dinosaur bones, the chemistry of the processes therefore also cover a huge range of things and will require quite a solid understanding of geochemistry. Worse, the early stages of fossilization are not well understood. By its nature, figuring out what is and is not in the process of becoming a fossil is difficult, so there are several competing ideas and all of them might well be true.

A few quick definitions.

Stone is any solid composed of nonliving material with a fairly well defined chemical composition, stone is one of the broadest definitions in science.

There is a free textbook on paleontology online, that should be a good spot to get started.

Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record, Michael J Benton and David A. T. Harper, Wiley-Blackwell.

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