Soft tissue fossils are structures involved in bone formation found in fossils. Soft tissues include blood vessels, cells, and proteins. Most fossils only include hard tissues such as shell or bone. In 2005, soft tissues were found preserved in a tyrannosaurus rex, making it the only instance of soft tissue found in dinosaurs.
The word fossil – literally means ‘something dug up.’ Soft tissue can include blood vessels, proteins, feathers or even eyes. Preservation of any kind is rare and dependent on many things such as type of soil and exposure. Some examples of soft tissue fossils would be the famous Siberian mammoth found buried in landslides then rapidly frozen into permafrost and insects trapped in resin.
The first link below is to an article about the soft tissue remnants of Archaeopteryx one of the most famous fossils of the earliest known bird – that also contains remnants of the feathers’ soft tissue.
The second link is to information regarding the Burgess Shales and preservation of gills, guts and even eyes as minerals forged at tremendous depths.
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