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Neontology is the part of biology which – in contrast to paleontology – deals with now living (or, more generally, recent) organisms. The term neontologist is usually used only by paleontologists to refer to non-paleontologists. Stephen Jay Gould said of neontology:

All professions maintain their parochialisms, and I trust that nonpaleontological readers will forgive our major manifestation. We are paleontologists, so we need a name to contrast ourselves with all you folks who study modern organisms in human or ecological time. You therefore become neontologists. We do recognize the unbalanced and parochial nature of this dichotomous division -- much like my grandmother's parsing of Homo sapiens into the two categories of 'Jews' and 'non-Jews'.[1]


  1. ^ Gould, Stephen Jay (2002). The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Harvard University Press. p. 778. ISBN 0-674-00613-5.