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American Dictionary of the English Language

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Fossil


FOS'SIL, adjective [Latin fossitis, from fodio, fossius, to dig.]

1. Dug out of the earth; as fossil coal; fossil salt. The term fossil is now usually appropriated to those inorganic substances, which have become penetrated by earthy or metallic particles. Thus we say, fossil shells, fossil bones, fossil wood.

2. That may be taken from the earth by digging.

FOS'SIL, noun A substance dug from the earth, or penetrated with earthy or metallic particles.

Fossils are native or extraneous. Native fossils are minerals, properly so called, as earth, salts, combustibles and metallic bodies. Extraneous fossils are bodies of vegetable or animal origin accidentally buried in the early, as plants, shells, bones and other substances, many of which are petrified.