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Presented as a Paleontological Society short course at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America, Vancouver, British Columbia, October 18, 2014. The editors have assembled 14 original contributions that review and expand upon the current state of knowledge surrounding the taphonomic pathways responsible for preserving soft tissues. Many of these papers lean towards the Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic (where Konservat-Lagerstätten are most abundant in geologic time), however, others also treat significantly younger (and equally extraordinary) deposits.
Within this volume contributions have been included that emphasize not only processes (i.e., specific pathways that mineralize tissue) in exceptional preservation, but also patterns (i.e., secular changes in the character/frequency of soft-bodied fossils through time).
- Reading and writing of the fossil record: preservational pathways to exceptional fossilization / Marc Laflamme, James D. Schiffbauer, and Simon A.F. Darroch
- Konservat-Lagerstätten 40 years on: the exceptional becomes mainstream / Derek E.G. Briggs
- Silicification / Susan H. Butts
- Pyritization of soft tissues in the fossil record: an overview / Una C. Farrell
- Exceptional fossil conservation through phosphatization / James D. Schiffbauer, Adam F. Wallace, Jesse Broce, and Shuhai Xiao
- The role of biology in the fossilization of embryos and other soft-bodied organisms: microbial biofilms and Lagerstätten / Rudolf A. Raff and Elizabeth C. Raff
- Of time and taphonomy: preservation and its distribution in space and time / Robert R. Gaines
- Concretions as agents of soft-tissue preservation: a review / Victoria E. McCoy
- Amber / Conrad Labandeira
- The exceptional preservation of interesting and informative biomolecules / Roger E. Summons
- The exceptional preservation of plant fossils: a review of taphonomic pathways and biases in the fossil record / Emma R. Locatelli
- Experimental decay of soft tissues / Robert S. Sansom
- Distinguishing biology from geology in soft-tissue preservation / John A. Cunningham, Philip C.J. Donoghue, and Stefan Bengtson
- Late Proterozoic-Early Phanerozoic 'taphonomic windows': the environmental and temporal distribution of recurrent modes of exceptional preservation / Patrick J. Orr
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