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Paleontology

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Paleontology is the study of the forms of life existing in prehistoric times, chiefly by studying the fossils of plants, animals, and other organisms. A paleontologist is a scientist who studies aspects such as morphology, behavior, and how ancient life interacted with their environment.

Paleontology is based on uniformitarian geology, which holds that there has been no Biblical flood, but instead it is believed the layers of strata represent vast geologic ages. Based on this assumption, paleontologists examine and characterize fossils.

Within paleontology, there are branches and areas of specializations based on the particular type of organism. The study of prehistoric humans is known as Paleoanthropology, animal paleontology is Paleozoology, and the branch which studies ancient plants is called Paleobotany.

Paleontologists are often incorrectly referred to as archaeologists, because of public perception regarding similarities in techniques (i.e., both "dig in the dirt for old things"). There is somewhat of a blurring between archaeology and paleoanthropology, and even more so between paleoanthropology and some branches of paleozoology.

Practice

A hadrosaur skeleton

How Paleontologists incorporate their knowledge is from biology, geology, archeology and computer science. Those four subjects help them understand the processes of how the world came to be. Paleontology is not just the study of fossils though, Paleontologists can also study the human body, vertebrate and invertebrate fossils. Paleontology is much more than just the study of fossils. They study a lot of interesting subjects and they work hard to find clues about the history of our world. [1]Paleontology is the study of fossils. They use the fossil remains to better understand the life of organisms. Fossils will contain some interesting knowledge about organisms life and the environment around it. Fossils can show how an organism lived. For example, Amber is a Harden fossilized tree resin. Resin is a sticky substance made by plants. Resin are very sticky and they were able to trap air bubbles. Once scientists were able to analyze the air, they could tell that there were volcano eruptions nearby. Also, fossils can tell us the behavior of an animal. An example could be that paleontologists observed that hadrosaurs lived in bug herds, because there were more than 10,000 skeletons in one site. [2]

History

Paleontology started quite a while ago. Paleontology started and became an official practice in the 1800s. It wasn't until the 1700s that people started to realize that fossils were able to give information to people about their history and the environment around the organism. Also, in the 1700s, Paleontologists were able to realize that fossils began to prove that animals were alive long ago and then became extinct. Then, in the 1800s, there were many advancements in Paleontology and they began to put their studies and information into museums for everyone to see. In 1822, Henri Marie Ducrotay decided to name the studies of fossils, Paleontology. Since then, Paleontologists are still continuing to figure out and learning more and more about the earth's history. [3]

Paleoanthropology

Sculpture of Peking Man (Homo erectus) - outside the Zhoukoudian cave system in Beijing, China.
Main Article: Paleoanthropology

Paleoanthropology is a specialized branch of physical anthropology involved with the study of ancient human beings. Paleoanthropologists are those investigating the origin and subsequent evolution of human physiology by examining fossil remains and other ancient evidence.

Mainstream anthropologists and archaeologists believe that humans began domesticating animals and plants in the Middle East about 10-12,000 years ago. The earliest known civilization, the Sumerians, developed in Mesopotamia about 7,000 years ago, after humans had developed agriculture sufficiently. This is the same location where many of the early Biblical stories in Genesis are set.

Paleozoology

Main Article: Paleozoology
  • Archaeopteryx is classified as late Jurassic, and dated by evolutionary dating methods at 150 million years.
  • Dinosaur is undoubtedly the most popular group of animals studied by paleontologists.
  • Plesiosaur is an extinct marine reptile that is found in strata identified as the Mesozoic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Eras.
  • Pterosaur is not scientifically classified as a dinosaur but more like a flying lizard, they have unique characteristics that set them apart from reptiles, birds, and bats.
  • Mammoth is an extinct form of elephant. There are three different types of mammoths whose skeletons have been found in North America.
  • Mastodon

Paleobotany

Main Article: Paleobotany

Paleobotany is involved with the study of ancient plants. It is an important area of creation biology, as creationism and evolutionism have radically different descriptions of ancient plant life. Creationism holds that a wide variety of plant life was created by God fully intact with the capacity to reproduce and adapt to changing environments, approximately 6,000 years ago. Evolutionism holds that all plant life (and indeed all life on the planet) is related by common descent over millions of years, and that more complex plants developed more recently than simpler plants.

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External links

Video

What is Paleontology?

References

  1. Paleontology UCMP. Web. Unknown Author. December 2018.
  2. Paleontology NationalGeographic. Web. Unknown author. November, 2018.
  3. Hamilton Jason Paleontology ScienceViews. Web. November 2018.