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".
In other worlds, Paleontology
is a science about extinct animals based on fossils record.
The main goal
of Paleontology is reconstruction of life evolution on Earth,
understand its origin and development.
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
Some fossils, such as Ammonite and Trilobite called index fossils.
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, bring it to universities, labs or
where they dissect, study and assemble it.
fossils are found on all continents, even in Antarctic. Some fossils
found by occasion at construction excavation or by geologist
who is looking for oils or minerals, others are discovered in dedicates
expeditions organized by Natural
History Museums or universities, as for
example Polish-Mongolian Paleonthological Expeditions in Goby desert
between 1963-1971, shown on
stamp of Poland from 1980.
Many dinosaur's eggs and bones unearthed
there. Some of it can be seen on Polish
subdivisions of Paleontology science are:
- study fossils of animals who have a backbone: fish, dinosaurs,
- study fossils of animals who doesn't have the backbone: molluscs and
anthropods for example.
study fossils of microscopic animals of all kind.
- study traces and footprints of prehistoric animals
- study fossils of prehistoric plants of all kind, include algae and
study of pollen and sporea of prehistoric plants
- study of historical geography, generally physical
landscapes, such as continental drift for example.
Paleoecology - study
interaction between different prehistoric animals and plants. Food
chain of prehistoric animals for example.
- study history of Earth climate
Combined knowledge of all subdivisions above, allows to make some
reconstruction of prehistoric animals and plants in their environments,
as represented on many stamps
from around the world.
Any feedback, comments or even complaints
are welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org (you
can email me on ENglish, DEutsch, or RUssian)