Palæos: Palaeontology PALAEONTOLOGY Palaeontology
Palaeontology is the study of ancient life, on the basis of fossil remains
"To trace that life in its manifold changes through past ages to the present is a ... difficult task, but one from which modern science does not shrink. In this wide field, every earnest effort will meet with some degree of success; every year will add new and important facts; and every generation will bring to light some law, in accordance with which ancient life has been changed into life as we see it around us to-day."
O.C. Marsh, Vice Presidential Address, AAAS, August 30, 1877
Paleontology (or Palaeontology) is the study of prehistoric animal and plant life through the analysis of fossil remains. The study of these remains enables scientists to trace the evolutionary history of extinct as well as living organisms. Paleontologists also play a major role in unraveling the mysteries of the earth's rock strata (layers). Using detailed information on how fossils are distributed in these layers of rock, paleontologists help prepare accurate geologic maps, which are essential in the search for oil, water, and minerals
"Paleontology," Microsoft (R) Encarta. Copyright © 1994 Microsoft Corporation. Copyright © 1994 Funk & Wagnall's Corporation.
The importance of geology in paleontology cannot be overemphasized. We deal with the tiny fraction of organisms which happened to be buried in deposits of an appropriate sediment, which were subsequently preserved, which were subsequently lithified, which were not subsequently metamorphosed or eroded or buried outside of our reach, which were later exposed, and which were discovered and identified.
Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. Vertebrate Paleontologist
some Links and References
University of California Museum of Palaeontology - my favorite site for all things paleontological
Links for Palaeontologists
Computational Paleontology - concerned with the use of mathematical models, simulation, computer graphics and computers in general in paleontology
International Plant Taphonomy Meeting - The purpose of the International Plant Taphonomy Meetings is to stimulate scientific research and to promote contacts among scientists engaged in the study of plant taphonomy including living and fossil plants of all geological periods.
There is now a digital journal - Palaeontologia Electronica. The articles are rather technical and academic, but it's really cool to see an academic journal take such an innovative approach. What's more, there's a nice movie of some Endoceras in issue no.1
Mirror Sites for the Palaeontologia Electronica Texas A&M University, Texas, USA Carleton University, Ontario, Canada Cushman Foundation, Illinois, USA Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, Oklahoma, USA Universitat de València, Spain
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unless otherwise specified, content by M. Alan Kazlev this material may be freely used for non-commercial purposes page created 11 June 1998, last modified 15 March 2002 checked ATW050504