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Paleontology

/ˌpālēˌənˈtäləjē/

Noun

1. Scientific study of life of the geologic past that involves the analysis of plant and animal fossils, including those of microscopic size, preserved in rocks. It is concerned with all aspects of the biology of ancient life forms: their shape and structure, evolutionary patterns, taxonomic relationships with each other and with modern living species, geographic distribution, and interrelationships with the environment. (global.britannica.com)

2. The scientific study of prehistoric life. It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms’ evolution and interactions with each other and their environments (their paleoecology). As a “historical science” it attempts to explain causes rather than conduct experiments to observe effects. (wikipedia.org)

3. The study of fossil organisms and other related remains. (biology-online.org)

4. A science dealing with the life of past geological periods as known from fossil remains. (merriam-webster.com)

Syn: fossilology

Also spelled as: palaeontology

Word origin: From Greek palaios “old, ancient” + onto, “being” + logie, “study”

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