There was a truth in these criticisms. It was the very aim of Hegelianism to render fluid the fixed phases of reality - to show existence not to be an immovable rock limiting the efforts of thought, but to have thought implicit in it, waiting for release from its petrifaction.
Although some information as to minute structure may often be gleaned from the carbonaceous coating of impressions, the fossils preserved by petrifaction are the main source of our knowledge of the structural characters of ancient plants.
The chemical bodies which have played the most important part as agents of petrifaction are silicic acid and calcium carbonate, though other substances, such as magnesium carbonate, calcium sulphate and ferric oxide have also been concerned, either as the chief constituents of petrifac tions, or mixed with other bodies.
This second method of fossilization is termed petrifaction.