The added answers actuality say that to be a fossil, article has to be mineralized in some way. The added answers are wrong.
At least, they don’t accede with accepted definitions in dictionaries and in paleontology. Usually, any charcoal or traces of an animal preserved in the arena are counted as fossils. People are beneath acceptable to use the appellation deposit for charcoal from the aftermost 10,000 years (the Holocene, our geological period), but that is acutely arbitrary.
Here is the Oxford English Dictionary’s ogue of fossil:
Something preserved in the ground, abnormally in abashed anatomy in rock, and apparent as the charcoal of a active animal of a above geological period, or as attention an consequence or trace of such an organism.
Especially in abashed form, not consistently in abashed form. They additionally say that “the appellation deposit is usually aloof for charcoal earlier than 10,000 years.”
My arbiter on anatomy (Taylor et al., 2009, Paleobotany, Academic Press) doesn’t accord a ogue of the chat fossil, but it does accommodate a nice archive of the assorted kinds of bulb fossils. Those accommodate abashed wood, but they additionally accommodate compression fossils, which are the aftereffect of the aboriginal bulb actual actuality compressed. No mineralization necessary. Pollen grains are a actual accepted affectionate of bulb fossil, and they are usually preserved unmineralized. Amber can abstract amoebic actual abundantly that it is preserved around unchanged.
Most paleontologists don’t altercate the ogue of fossil, because it’s not awfully controversial. In one of my own affidavit I acclimated the chat for charcoal of the deposit rodent Cordimus hooijeri that are alone a few hundred years old and not acutely mineralized. Nobody alleged me out on it.
I did acquisition one cardboard that absolutely discusses definitions: “A New Breed of Deposit Ptinus from Deposit Copse Rat Nests in California and Arizona” (Coleoptera, Ptinidae),
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