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Paleontologist Definition

A paleontologist is a scientist that studies the fossil record to better understand life on Earth. For example, they examine ancient plant remains to learn about past environments.

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The Fossil Record

Fun Facts

  • Paleontologists study fossils at the Western Science Center.
  • Paleontologists found over 100,000 fossils near a Southern California lake.
  • Paleontologists dig for fossils in sedimentary rock layers.

Why Do We Need To Know About Paleontologist

Paleontology helps us learn about Earth’s history by studying ancient life forms. Paleontologists are scientists who study fossils to see how life changed over millions of years. This helps us know more about biology and geology and shows us how the Earth has changed.

Paleontology is useful in many areas like environmental science, evolutionary biology, and museums. For example, finding fossils like the Tiktaalik helps us understand how animals moved from water to land. Paleontologists also help teach and do research by studying fossils like the Archaeopteryx and nothosaurus, which teaches us how diverse and complex life is.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are fossils discovered?
Earth processes like erosion and earthquakes can move sediment from one location to another, often uncovering and exposing fossils. Scientists also concentrate their search efforts in areas that are known to have lots of fossils, like Utah.
How do trace fossils provide evidence of past life?
Trace fossils provide information about how an organism lived, including but not limited to how it moved, what it ate, and where it lived.
How do layers of rock provide information in the fossil record?
Over time, sediment forms layers beneath the Earth’s surface. The deeper fossils are found in the Earth’s crust, the older they are. The closer to the surface fossils are found, the younger they are.
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