Things to Know About Paleontology - Deepstash
Things to Know About Paleontology

Things to Know About Paleontology

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Paleontology

Paleontology

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).

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Paleontology encompasses many subdisciplines

These include:

  • the study of microscopic fossils (micropaleontology)
  • the study of fossil plants (paleobotany)
  • the study of pollen and spores produced by land plants and protists (palynology)
  • the study of invertebrate animal fossils (invertebrate paleontology)
  • the study of prehistoric human and proto-human fossils (human paleontology)
  • the study of the processes of decay, preservation and the formation on fossils (taphonomy)
  • the study of fossil tracks, trails and footprints (ichnology)
  • and the study of the ecology and climate of the past (paleoecology).

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Paleontology is a scientific necessity

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.

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Paleontology and possible careers

While many paleontologists pursue careers in academia, there are other options as well.

  • Some end up working as geological surveyors, while others work in the commercial sector for oil, coal, and gas companies.
  • Others pursue fulfilling careers as museum curators, geoscientists, and oceanographers.

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