- Other Ways

Fossils may form in other ways. With complete preservation, the organism doesn't change much. As seen below, tree sap may cover an organism and then turn into amber. The original organism is preserved so that scientists might be able to study its DNA. Organisms can also be completely preserved in tar or ice. Molds and casts are another way organisms can be fossilized. A mold is an imprint of an organism left in rock. The organism's remains break down completely. Rock that fills in the mold resembles the original remains. The fossil that forms in the mold is called a cast. Molds and casts usually form in sedimentary rock. With compression, an organism's remains are put under great pressure inside rock layers. This leaves behind a dark stain in the rock.

You can read about them in Figure.

Ways Fossils Form Ways Fossils Form.

(A) Complete Preservation. This spider looks the same as it did the day it died millions of years ago!

(B) Molds and Casts. A mold is a hole left in rock after an organism's remains break. A cast forms from the minerals that fill that hole and solidify.

(C) Compression. A dark stain is left on a rock that was compressed. These ferns were fossilized by compression.