, also called , calcium-rich , a hardened layer in or on a . It is formed on calcareous materials as a result of climatic fluctuations in arid and semiarid regions. Calcite is dissolved in groundwater and, under drying conditions, is precipitated as the water evaporates at the surface. Rainwater saturated with carbon dioxide acts as an acid and also dissolves calcite and then redeposits it as a precipitate on the surfaces of the soil particles; as the interstitial soil spaces are filled, an impermeable crust is formed.
"The bones may be more than ten thousand years old, the scientists decide; a prominent brow ridge on one skull compounds the sense that the creature had an 'almost freakish' appearance.