Fossil bones (N = 350) spanning more than 350 million years, and covering a wide range of depositional environments, were studied to compare the distribution of microbial destruction features in fossil bones with previously published data sets of bones of archaeological age. The distribution of bioerosion in fossil bones is very different from that found in bone from archaeological sites. Fossil bones typically show little or no bioerosion. Under normal conditions, if a bone is to survive into the fossil record, then rapid bioerosion must be prevented (or halted). This conclusion suggests that early post mortem processes,such as the mode of death, influence the potential of any bone to survive into deep time.