Paleontology

Paleontrology on stamp"Paleontology, sometimes spelled palaeontology is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holocene Epoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms' evolution and interactions with each other and their environments (their paleoecology). Paleontological observations have been documented as far back as the 5th century BC. The science became established in the 18th century as a result of Georges Cuvier's work on comparative anatomy, and developed rapidly in the 19th century. The term itself originates from Greek παλαιός, palaios, "old, ancient", ὄν, on (gen. ontos), "being, creature" and λόγος, logos, "speech, thought, study". " [R1]

In other worlds, Paleontology or Palaeontology, is a science about extinct animals based on fossil record.
The main goal of Paleontology is reconstruction of life's evolution on Earth, and to understand its origin and development.

Fossil can be of different types: bones, eggs, tooths, tissue or even entire bodies preserved in permafrost or amber of extinct animals, shells, petrified wood or fossilized remains of some plants, animal's footprints or traces preserved in stones etc.
Shell fossil on stamp Insect in Amber on stamp Petrified wood on stamp Animal fossil on stamp Animal fossil on stamp
Plant fossil on stamp Dinosaur eggs on stamp Dinosaur footprint on stamp
Trilobite on stamp Ammonite on stamp Some fossils, such as Ammonite and Trilobite are known as index fossils.
An "Index fossil, any animal or plant preserved in the rock record of the Earth that is characteristic of a particular span of geologic time or environment. A useful index fossil must be distinctive or easily recognizable, abundant, and have a wide geographic distribution and a short range through time. Index fossils are the basis for defining boundaries in the geologic time scale and for the correlation of strata. " [R3]


Scientists who study this fossils called Paleontologists or Palaeontologists.
They dig for fossils in the field, bringing them to universities, labs or museums where they dissect, study and assemble it.
Paleiontologists dig for dinosaur bones on stamp
Discovery of Dinosaur in Africa on stampDiscovery of Dinosaur in Asia on stamp Discovery fossil in Antarctic on stampNowadays fossils are found on all continents, even in Antarctic. Some fossils are occasion found at construction excavation or by geologists who are looking for oils or minerals, others are discovered during dedicated expeditions organized by Natural History Museums or universities, as for example the Polish-Mongolian Paleonthological Expeditions in the Goby desert between 1963-1971, shown on stamps of Poland from 1980. Many dinosaur's eggs and bones were unearthed there. Some of the finding can be seen on Polish and Mongolian stamps.

Main subdivisions of Paleontology science are:
Continental drift on stamp Micropaleontology on stampVertebrate paleontology - to study fossils of animals which have a backbone: fish, dinosaurs, mammals etc.
Invertebrate paleontology - to study fossils of animals which do not have the backbone: molluscs and anthropods for example.
Micropaleontology - to study fossils of microscopic animals of all kind.
Paleoichnology - this study traces and footprints of prehistoric animals
Paleobotany - to study fossils of prehistoric plants of all kind, include algae and fungi.
Palynology - the study of pollen and sporea of prehistoric plants
Palaeogeography - the study of historical geography, generally physical landscapes, such as continental drift for example.
Paleoecology - to study the interaction between different prehistoric animals and plants. Food chain of prehistoric animals for example.
Paleoclimatology - to study the history of Earth climate

Combined knowledge of all the subdivisions above, allows us to make some reconstruction of prehistoric animals and plants in their environments, as represented on many stamps from around the world.

Reconstruction of primitive animals on stamps

Reconstruction of Dinosaurs and other Jurassic animals on stamps

Prehistoric mammals reconstruction on stamps


References:
[R1] Wikipedia
[R2] Britanica
[R3] Britanica


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