Definition of trace fossil in US English:

trace fossil


  • A fossil of a footprint, trail, burrow, or other trace of an animal rather than of the animal itself.

    • ‘This structure is more readily explained as an elongate, gently tapering body fossil, than as a trace fossil.’
    • ‘This trace fossil occurs in an early Holocene eolianite deposit on the island of San Salvador, Bahamas.’
    • ‘Indeed, as we have seen, the lower boundary of the Cambrian is now defined by the occurrence of the burrow trace fossil, Trichophycus pedum.’
    • ‘When you recall that one of the disadvantages of trace fossils is that the same trace fossil could have been made by many organisms, think of the difficulty of trying to match every Cruziana with each of the hundreds of trilobite genera.’
    • ‘In addition any invertebrate fossils or trace fossils will be noted or collected if any new examples come to hand.’