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National Geographic defines paleontology as “the study of the history of life on Earth as based on fossils.”
This means the remains of everything from single-celled living things, fungi, and bacteria to plants and animals (and dinosaurs).
Paleontology is the study of the history of life. Because that history is written in the fossil and geological record, paleontology allows us to place living organisms in both evolutionary (life-historical) and geological (earth-historical) context.
It is this contextual background that allows us to interpret the significance of characteristics of living organisms, and the significance of biological events occurring today.
While many paleontologists pursue careers in academia, there are other options as well.
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