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taphonomy (n.)

"study of the means by which the remains of living beings become fossils," 1940, with -nomy

+ Greek taphos "tomb, burial, funeral," which is of uncertain origin. It is traditionally derived (along with Armenian damban "tomb") from a PIE root *dhembh- "to dig, bury," but there are doubts, and Beekes writes, "Armenian and Greek could well be borrowings; IE origin is uncertain." Related: Taphonomic.

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