Introduction to Paleontology

 

Definitions:

Paleontology

The scientific study of life in the geologic past, especially through the study of animal and plant fossils.

Paleontologist

Scientists who study fossils.

Fossil

Fossils are the recognizable remains, such as bones, shells, or leaves, or other evidence, such as tracks, burrows, or impressions, of past life on Earth

Sediment

Solid fragmented material, such as silt, sand, gravel, chemical precipitates, and fossil fragments, that is transported and deposited by water, ice, or wind or that accumulates through chemical precipitation or secretion by organisms, and that forms layers on the Earth's surface. Sedimentary rocks consist of consolidated sediment.

 

Sedimentary Rock

Rock that has formed through the deposition and solidification of sediment, especially sediment transported by water (rivers, lakes, and oceans), ice ( glaciers), and wind. Sedimentary rocks are often deposited in layers, and frequently contain fossils.


What is geologic time?

The geologic time scale provides a system of chronologic measurement relating stratigraphy to time that is used by geologists, paleontologists and other earth scientists to describe the timing and relationships between events that have occurred during the history of the Earth.