noun Geology, Paleontology.
a widely distributed fossil, of narrow range in time, regarded as characteristic of a given geological formation, used especially in determining the age of related formations.
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Also called guide fossil.
Origin of index fossil
First recorded in 1895–1900
Words nearby index fossil
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
British Dictionary definitions for index fossil
a fossil species that characterizes and is used to delimit a geological zoneAlso called: zone fossil
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Scientific definitions for index fossil
[ ĭn′dĕks′ ]
The fossil remains of an organism that lived in a particular geologic age, used to identify or date the rock or rock layer in which it is found. The best type of index fossils are usually those of swimming or floating organisms that evolved quickly (and therefore did not cover a long span of geologic history) and were able to spread over large areas. Ammonites and graptolites are good index fossils.
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