The carbonaceous chondrites are a group of stony meteorites characterized by the presence of an appreciable amount of carbonaceous material other than free carbon (diamond and graphite). They have been divided into three subgroups known respectively as Type I, Type II, and Type III. Analyses of Type I meteorites show about 3 5% of carbon and 20% of combined water; they consist largely of hydrated magnesium-iron silicate, magnetite, and magnesium sulfate, contain no chondrules, and have a density about 2.2. Analyses of Type II meteorites show about 2 3% of carbon and 10 15% of combined water; they consist of a groundmass of hydrated magnesium-iron silicate enclosing chondrules of olivine and pyroxene which are almost iron-free, and have a density of 2.6 2.9. Analyses of Type III meteorites show about 0.5 2% of carbon and 2% combined water; they consist largely of olivine (often variable in composition, but averaging 30 40 mole per cent Fe2SiO4), with accessory pigeonite and sulfide minerals, and have a density about 3.4. The carbonaceous material and combined water in these meteorites are clearly of extraterrestrial origin, but their significance is not well understood. A biological origin has been claimed for some of the organic compounds on the basis of their composition, but this claim is the subject of considerable dispute. Microscopic objects with regular outline (“organized elements”) have been recognized in some of these meteorites; some investigators have claimed these to be extraterrestrial fossils, others have ascribed them to terrestrial contamination or considered them to be crystals or crystal aggregates of non-biological origin.