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Keywords:

  • diagenesis;
  • disorder;
  • palaeoclimate;
  • isotope;
  • bone;
  • foraminifera

Abstract

Biomineralized tissues are chemically altered after death, and this diagenetic alteration can obscure original biological chemical features or provide new chemical information about the depositional environment. To use the chemistry of fossil biominerals to reconstruct biological, environmental or taphonomic information, a solid appreciation of biomineralization, mineral diagenesis and biomineral–water interaction is needed. Here, I summarize the key recent developments in the fields of biomineralization and post-mortem trace element exchange that have significant implications for our understanding of the diagenetic behaviour of biominerals and the ways in which biomineral chemistry can be used in palaeontological and taphonomic research.