Paleontology: For many, the word Paleontology refers to the discovery of dinosaurs and great beasts from the distant past. But this field of science is much more than that. It encompasses the study of all living beings that have ever lived on the planet.
In addition to the large reptiles, there are paleontologists interested in discovering fish, mammals, amphibians, birds or even simpler animals, such as sea sponges. Vegetables, fungi and bacteria are also of interest to these researchers.
Even traces of the existence of life are objects of study in this field, such as dinosaur eggs, animal feces and even footprints. According to the organism studied, paleontology is subdivided into other areas. Are they:
Paleozoology — concerned with the study of animals.
Paleobotany — involved with the research of plants and vegetables.
Paleobiogeography — discipline that relates life to the geographical conditions of the past, very different from today.
Paleocology — analyzes the ecological relationships of extinct species.
Paleoethology — includes scientists engaged in discovering the behavior of past living things.
Paleontology emerged at the interface between two major areas of science: biology — the study of life — and geology — interested in the Earth. In this way, it can explain how species evolved throughout the planet’s history.
This field of research is also of economic importance. The researchers in the area help in the discovery of fuel reserves, such as oil, natural gas and mineral coal.
In addition, fossil discoveries generate investments in the preservation of natural environments and serve to create and maintain the collection of natural history museums, which greatly contribute to the tourism sector.