Paleontology is the study of Earth’s history explored through the fossilized remains of plants, animals, bacteria, and other organisms. Paleontologists work to understand the behaviors, evolution, and environment of both extinct and living organisms. Paleontologists often specialize in one form of fossil or environment that fall into these 4 categories:

  • Vertebrate Paleontology is the study of fossils with backbones.
  • Invertebrate Paleontology is the study of fossils without backbones, such as mollusks, corals and arthropods.
  • Paleobotany is the study of fossilized and ancient plants.
  • Micropaleontology is the study of fossilized bacteria and other microscopic organisms.

Paleontologists often work alongside evolutionary biologists and geologists to discover, examine, and describe fossils. They use a variety of tools including CT scans and X-Ray machines to locate and unearth fossilized specimens. Modern day paleontologists can even extract DNA from materials to reveal genetic discoveries.