A palaeontologist is a person who studies dinosaurs for a living. However, there is much more to palaeontology than researching dinosaurs. Paleontologists also examine the fossils of plants, animals, and other species that died long ago or before the beginning of the Holocene Epoch. By examining these fossils and relics of extinct plants and animals, palaeontologists can learn about Earth’s history, the relationships between past and current life, how evolution works, and how organisms responded to their environments.
One thing is certain: becoming a palaeontologist does not entail spending all day in an office. Many of them travel the globe to explore fossil sites, collect data, collect water and soil samples, and preserve specimens to bring back to the lab. After returning to their home base, they must clean and examine the fossils they’ve unearthed, as well as write articles about their discoveries. Others may offer college courses on palaeontology and related topics. Curating and managing fossil collections may also be required responsibilities.
The Daily Routine of a Paleontologist
Who Employs the Paleontologists?
The majority of palaeontologists perform research and teach classes in colleges and universities, while others work at museums. Occasionally, the government or a private enterprise will hire a palaeontologist to assist with mapping a job site or identifying fossils discovered on a job site.
What Are the Primary Qualities of a Paleontologist?
A palaeontologist must possess curiosity and an investigative spirit. You must desire to comprehend how the world functions and its relationship to science and history. Additionally, palaeontologists must be rational, analytical, and methodical. In order to report your findings to an audience, whether it be your colleagues or the entire world, communication skills are also essential.
To become a palaeontologist, what subjects should you study?
Middle school and high school students who wish to become palaeontologists should learn as much science and history as possible. Geology, Earth science, physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, anthropology, archaeology, chemistry, computer science, and mathematics are all disciplines that might assist you grasp your potential professional path.
Advanced Educational Requirements for Paleontologist Certification
Typically, palaeontologists attend college and receive advanced degrees. During your undergraduate education, your science or geology department can help you map out a path toward your desired career. You must next get a master’s degree or doctorate in palaeontology or a related subject such as geology.
Gaining Paleontology Experience Outside the Classroom
The majority of the experience necessary to become a palaeontologist will be gained through your academic study, however there are ways to gain additional experience. Look for volunteer and internship opportunities at local natural history museums. Consider joining a fossil club in your region and seeking advice from professionals in the field. Visit sites where fossils are discovered, if possible, and observe and learn as much as possible.
The majority of palaeontologists specialise in one of its subdisciplines. Knowing which one most fascinates you can help you select a more suitable educational path. Micropaleontology is the study of the smallest fossils found, whereas paleobotany is the study of fossilised plants, algae, and fungi. Palynology is the study of pollen and spores, whereas invertebrate palaeontology examines fossilised invertebrates. Vertebrate palaeontology is the study of fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals, whereas paleoanthropology is the study of ancient people. Taphonomy is the study of fossil preservation, ichnology is the study of footprints and tracks, and paleoecology examines previous climates and ecosystems.