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Paleontology is the study of life that existed on Earth roughly 11,700 years before present. It also studies fossils to categorize organisms and their interactions with each other and with their environment.
See the fact file below for more information on the paleontology or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Paleontology worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- Early human civilizations used fossils as decorations or for religious purposes, even though they did not know where they came from.
- A few ancient Roman and Greek scientists acknowledged that fossils were the residues of life forms, but many believed otherwise and thought they were proof of the existence of mythical creatures such as dragons.
- From the Middle Ages until the start of the 1700s, fossils were considered to be the works of a high power or the devil.
- Many believed that fossils had destructive powers or special curing powers.
- Despite this widespread belief, some scientists had an understanding of what fossils were, and based on fossil evidence, they formulated complex hypotheses.
- Xenophanes, a Greek philosopher and biologist, discovered seashells on land, and reasoned that the land was once under water and could have been a seafloor.
- In 1027, in his The Book of Healing, Avicenna suggested the principle of petrifying fluids. This was later elaborated on by Albert of Saxony in the 14th century.
- Shen Kuo, a Chinese naturalist, formed a climate change theory when he found some fossilized bamboo in regions that were too dry for bamboo to thrive during his time.
- The proper science of paleontology started in the 1700s, during what is known as the Age of Reason.
- Leonardo Da Vinci also made numerous contributions to the field. He used ichnofossils to establish the connection between the two main branches of paleontology.
- By the end of the 18th century, Georges Cuvier showed that animals could become extinct by proving that some fossil animals did not resemble any living ones. This led to the development of paleontology.
- The increasing knowledge of the fossil record also helped in the development of geology.
- In the first half of the 19th century, paleontological and geological activity became better organized with the increase of museums and geologic societies, and the growing number of fossil specialists and professional geologists.
- The focus of paleontology shifted to learning the evolutionary paths and evolution theory after Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species.
- Paleontology uses fossils as its main source of evidence and focuses on the record of past life.
- Paleontology has a number of subdisciplines, each focusing on a specific fossil type or part of the Earth.
- An important subdiscipline, vertebrate paleontology, studies the fossils of animals with backbones. Reconstruction of skeletons of turtles, dinosaurs, cats, and other animals helps scientists understand their evolutionary history and how they lived.
- Invertebrate paleontology, on the other hand, examines fossils of animals without backbones. Because invertebrates do not have bones, what are left behind their fossils are impressions of their soft body parts and their exoskeletons and shells.
- Fossils of invertebrates are significant in studying and reconstructing prehistoric aquatic environments.
- Paleobotany, the study of ancient plant fossils, helps in reconstructing ancient climates and environments, and in understanding the diversity and evolution of plants.
- Micropaleontology is a subdiscipline concerned with the study of fossils of algae, protists, pollen, tiny crustaceans, and other microscopic organisms.
- Species found in microfossils are often short-lived and thrive in the areas where they are found, making them very helpful in identifying which rock layers are the same age.
SOURCES OF EVIDENCE
- The formation of fossils happens only rarely, and most are destroyed by metamorphism or erosion before they are discovered.
- The parts of organisms that are usually fossilized are those that were already mineralized, such as the shells of molluscs.
- Soft tissues are occasionally preserved in unusual environments like lagerstätten.
- Trace fossils, another source of evidence, are mainly composed of tracks and burrows.
- Trace fossils reflect an organism’s behavior and serve as a source of unlimited data about animals that have parts that are easy to fossilize.
- Another source of evidence for paleontology are geochemical observations. These aid the comprehension of the global biological activity level during a particular period.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the paleontology across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Paleontology worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the paleontology which is the study of life that existed on Earth roughly 11,700 years before present. It also studies fossils to categorize organisms and their interactions with each other and with their environment.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Digging Deep
- Dug to Fame
- Fossil Countries
- Time Beneath the Earth
- Science in the Movies
- Science Battle
- Found It!
- Process tThe Fossil
- The Neo Paleo
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Link will appear as Paleontology Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, April 15, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.