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Acid maceration is a technique to extract organic microfossils from a the surrounding rock.

HCl or acetic acid may be used to extract phosphatic fossils, such as the small shelly fossils, from a carbonate matrix.

HF is also used in acid macerations to extract organic fossils from silicate rocks. Fossiliferous rock may be immersed directly into the acid, or a cellulose nitrate film may be applied (dissolved in amyl acetate), which adheres to the organic component and allows the rock to be dissolved around it.[1]


  1. ^ Edwards, D. (1982), "Fragmentary non-vascular plant microfossils from the late Silurian of Wales", Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 84 (3): 223–256, doi:10.1111/j.1095-8339.1982.tb00536.x 

Mantell's Iguanodon restoration.jpg