Palynomorphs include both plant and animal structures that are microscopic in size (from about 5 µm to about 500 µm), and are composed of compounds that are highly resistant to most forms of decay other than oxidation, being composed of sporopollenin, dinosporin, or related compounds. In the strict sense, palynomorphs are recognized as microscopic structures that are abundant in most sediments and sedimentary rocks, and are resistant to the routine pollen-extraction procedures including strong acids, bases, acetolysis, and density separation. In a broader sense, other microfossils sometimes are given "courtesy appointments" as "palynomorphs" even they do not survive routine pollen-extraction procedures.

These "other microfossils" have siliceous, calcareous, phosphatic, or cellulose walls, and most are marine or freshwater organisms, or parts thereof. Opaline phytoliths are neither palynomorphs nor aquatic microfossils, being the siliceous remains of certain cells of higher plants. And, foraminifera are both! They have calcareous tests and resistant chitinous linings.

Click on the links to the right to have an insight of a few well-known palynomorphs.