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Paleontology

Paleontologists study a variety of fossilized remains to learn about past organisms and environments of the earth at different geologic periods. If you'd like to work in the field of paleontology, read on to learn about education options and careers.

Inside Paleontology

Paleontologists are scientists who work to reconstruct the history and evolution of earth's past through the study of fossils. They use fossilized bones, shells and casts of animals to learn about extinct species. They also use preserved pollen grains and trace fossils of plants to determine the environment in which species lived. Some paleontologists attempt to explain past extinctions to learn more about the potential environmental impacts of current and future climate change. Specialized paleontologists may study the stratigraphy of rocks, glacial ice and soils to help reconstruct past climates.

Education Information

Students pursuing careers in paleontology can earn bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees depending on their career aspirations. Students at the undergraduate level typically concentrate in paleontology while pursuing bachelor's degrees in geology or biology. Coursework includes a strong foundation in the natural sciences and mathematics, as well as field methods, statistics and laboratory courses.

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