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Taphonomy Dead and Fossilized Dataverse (University of Texas at Austin)
Through competitive play, game players learn about taphonomy (i.e., processes that affect an organism as it fossilizes). They explore how the organism’s biology, the environment it was deposited in, the physical and chemical changes during burial and decomposition, as well as discovery biases, can influence whether or not an organism is collected. Players attempt to preserve the best fossil collection by “time-traveling” to the Jurassic; there they protect their specimens from taphonomic factors (either from random environmental events or other players) and learn what processes enhance or diminish preservation. Players then return to the present to recover their specimens and learn that collection issues can also bias sample recovery.
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