Palaeontology is the study of fossils and evolution of life on earth. It is one of the historical sciences that aims to describe the phenomenon of the past and reconstruct the causes. It lies between biology and geology. Fossils in the rocks are the main source of evidence for palaeontology.
Palaeontology has specialised divisions- vertebrate palaeontology, invertebrate palaeontology, palaeobotany and palynology. Vertebrate palaeontology deals with the study of fossils of vertebrates. Invertebrate palaeontology deals with the study of invertebrate fossils such as molluscs, echinoderms, annelids and arthropods. Palaeobotany is the study of fossils of algae, plants and fungi. Palynology deals with the study of both living and fossil organisms.
Palaeontology can be understood further under the following headings.
Important Topics in Paleontology
Fossils are the most informative type of evidence. Fossilization is a rare event and most of the fossils are destroyed by erosion. That is why fossil records are not complete. Palaeontology traces the life that existed millions of years ago. Fossils present beneath the seas and oceans have been collected by the palaeontologists to add to the researches on the evolution of life.