Brett, Carlton E. Department of Geological Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York.
Gould, Stephen J. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Applications of Paleontology
- Systematics and taxonomy
- Evolutionary paleontology
- Trace fossil studies (ichnology)
- Paleoecology and paleoenvironmental analysis
- Biological Aspects
- Evolutionary process and life history
- Life properties
- Sketch of life history
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The study of life history as recorded by fossil remains. The term fossil, from the Latin “fossilis” (digging; dug up), originally referred to a variety of objects dug from the Earth, some of which were believed to be supernatural substances imbued with mystical powers. However, in a modern context, fossils can be defined as recognizable remains or traces of activity of prehistoric life. This broad definition takes in a diversity of ancient remains, but specifically excludes inorganic, mineralized structures, even those that spuriously resemble life forms (for example, dendritic patterns of manganese crystals: dendrites), sometimes termed pseudofossils (false fossils). See also: Fossil
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