noun \ˌpā-lē-ˌän-ˈtä-lə-jē, -ən-, especially British ˌpa-\

: the science that deals with the fossils of animals and plants that lived very long ago especially in the time of dinosaurs

Full Definition of PALEONTOLOGY

:  a science dealing with the life of past geological periods as known from fossil remains
pa·le·on·to·log·i·cal \-ˌän-tə-ˈlä-ji-kəl\ also pa·le·on·to·log·ic \-jik\ adjective
pa·le·on·tol·o·gist \-ˌän-ˈtä-lə-jist, -ən-\ noun


French paléontologie, from palé- pale- + Greek onta existing things (from neuter plural of ont-, ōn, present participle of einai to be) + French -logie -logy — more at is
First Known Use: 1837


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Scientific study of life of the geologic past, involving analysis of plant and animal fossils 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 species, geographic distribution, and interrelationships with the environment. Paleontology has played a key role in reconstructing the Earth's history and has provided evidence to support the theory of evolution. Data from paleontologic studies have also aided petroleum geologists in locating deposits of oil and natural gas, which are frequently associated with the remains of certain ancient life forms.


paleontology or palaeontology


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