Portal:Paleontology

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The Palaeontology Portal

Introduction

Kolihapeltis 01 Pengo.jpg
Trilobite (Kolihapeltis), Early Devonian (c. 400 million years old), Morocco.
Paleontology, palaeontology or palæontology (from Greek: παλαιό (palaio), "old, ancient"; όν (on), "being"; and logos, "speech, thought") is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of fossils.[1] This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised faeces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues.

Modern paleontology sets ancient life in its context by studying how long-term physical changes of global geography paleogeography and climate paleoclimate have affected the evolution of life, how ecosystems have responded to these changes and have adapted the planetary environment in turn and how these mutual responses have affected today's patterns of biodiversity. Hence, paleontology overlaps with geology (the study of rocks and rock formations) as well as with botany, biology, zoology and ecology – fields concerned with life forms and how they interact.

The major subdivisions of paleontology include paleozoology (animals), paleobotany (plants) and micropaleontology (microfossils). Paleozoologists may specialise in invertebrate paleontology, which deals with animals without backbones or in vertebrate paleontology, dealing with fossils of animals with backbones, including fossil hominids (paleoanthropology). Micropaleontologists study microscopic fossils, including organic-walled microfossils whose study is called palynology.

There are many developing specialties such as paleobiology, paleoecology, ichnology (the study of tracks and burrows) and taphonomy (the study of what happens to organisms after they expire). Major areas of study include the correlation of rock strata with their geologic ages and the study of evolution of lifeforms.
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Acrocanthosaurus atokensis.
Acrocanthosaurus (meaning 'high-spined lizard') was a genus of allosauroid theropod dinosaur that existed in what is now North America during the mid-Cretaceous Period, approximately 125 to 100 million years ago. Like most dinosaur genera, Acrocanthosaurus contains only a single species, A. atokensis. Its fossil remains are found mainly in the U.S. states of Oklahoma and Texas, although teeth attributed to Acrocanthosaurus have been found as far east as Maryland.

Acrocanthosaurus was a bipedal predator. As the name suggests, it is best known for the high neural spines on many of its vertebrae, which most likely supported a ridge of muscle over the animal's neck, back and hips. Acrocanthosaurus was one of the largest theropods, approaching 12 meters (40 ft) in length, and weighing up to about 2.40 metric tons (2.65 short tons). Large theropod footprints discovered in Texas may have been made by Acrocanthosaurus, although there is no direct association with skeletal remains.

Recent discoveries have elucidated many details of its anatomy, allowing for specialized studies focusing on its brain structure and forelimb function. However, there is still debate over its evolutionary relationships, with some scientists classifying it as an allosaurid, and others as a carcharodontosaurid. Acrocanthosaurus was the largest theropod in its ecosystem and likely an apex predator which possibly preyed on large sauropods and ornithopods. (see more...)

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Reconstruction of the mammal, Necrolestes patagonensis, of Early Miocene Patagonia, often thought to be a marsupial, as a mole-like animal.

Reconstruction of the mammal, Necrolestes patagonensis, of Early Miocene Patagonia, often thought to be a marsupial, as a mole-like animal..

Photo credit: Stanton F. Fink

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Topics

General - Paleontology - Fossil - Evolution - Extinction
History - History of paleontology - Bone Wars - List of years in paleontology
Locations - List of dinosaur-bearing rock formations - List of fossil sites - Como Bluff - Coon Creek Formation - Dinosaur Cove - Dinosaur National Monument - Dinosaur Park Formation - Dinosaur State Park and Arboretum - Glen Rose Formation - Hell Creek Formation - Lance Formation - Morrison Formation - Red Gulch Dinosaur Tracksite - Two Medicine Formation
Paleontologists - Mary Anning - Robert T. Bakker - Barnum Brown - William Buckland - Edward Drinker Cope - Jack Horner - Gideon Mantell - Othniel Charles Marsh - John Ostrom - Dong Zhiming
Geologic Time - Paleozoic Era - Cambrian (Early Cambrian - Middle Cambrian - Furongian) - Ordovician (Early Ordovician - Middle Ordovician - Late Ordovician) - Silurian (Llandovery - Wenlock - Ludlow - Pridoli) - Devonian (Early Devonian - Middle Devonian - Late Devonian) - Carboniferous (Mississippian - Pennsylvanian) - Permian (Cisuralian - Guadalupian - Lopingian) - Mesozoic Era - Triassic (Early Triassic - Middle Triassic - Late Triassic) - Jurassic (Early Jurassic - Middle Jurassic - Late Jurassic) - Cretaceous (Early Cretaceous - Late Cretaceous) - Cenozoic Era - Paleogene (Paleocene - Eocene - Oligocene) - Neogene (Miocene - Pliocene) - Quaternary (Pleistocene - Holocene)
Fringe and Pseudoscience - Creationist perspectives on dinosaurs - Living dinosaurs
Popular Culture - Cultural depictions of dinosaurs - Jurassic Park (novel) - Jurassic Park (film) - Stegosaurus in popular culture -Tyrannosaurus in popular culture - Walking with...

Prehistoric life

Amphibians and Basal Tetrapods - Prehistoric amphibian (List)
Arthropods - Barnacles (List) - Eurypterids (List) - Malacostracans (List) - Ostracods (List) - Trilobite (List) - Xiphosuran (List)
Birds - Prehistoric bird - Hesperornithes
Echinoderms - Brittle stars (List) - Crinoids (List) - Echinoids (List) - Sea cucumbers (List) - Starfish (List) - Stylophorans (List)
Fish - Prehistoric fish - Acanthodian (List) - Bony fish (List) - Cartilaginous fish (List) - Jawless fish (List) - Placoderm (List) - Sarcopterygian (List)
Invertebrates, misc - Brachiopod (List) - Graptolites (List)
Mammals - Prehistoric mammal (List)
Molluscs - Ammonite (List) - Belemnite (List) - Chitons (List) - Hyoliths (List) - Nautiloid (List)
Reptiles - Prehistoric reptile - Crurotarsan (List) - Dinosaur (List) - Ichthyosaur (List) - Mosasaur (List) - Phytosaur (List) - Plesiosaur (List) - Pterosaur (List) - Thalattosuchian (List)
Synapsids - Synapsid (List) - Anomodontia - Biarmosuchia - Caseasauria - Cynodontia - Dinocephalia - Eupelycosauria - Gorgonopsia - Therocephalia
Dinosaur-related topics - Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event - Dinosaur-bird connection - Dinosaur classification - Feathered dinosaurs - Physiology of dinosaurs

Quality Content

Featured paleontology articles - Acrocanthosaurus - Albertosaurus - Allosaurus - Archaeopteryx - Chicxulub Crater - Compsognathus - Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event - Daspletosaurus - Deinonychus - Deinosuchus - Dinosaur - Diplodocus - Gorgosaurus - Iguanodon - Lambeosaurus - List of dinosaurs - Majungasaurus - Massospondylus - Parasaurolophus - Psittacosaurus - Stegosaurus - Styracosaurus - Tarbosaurus - Thescelosaurus - Triceratops - Tyrannosaurus - Velociraptor
Good paleontology articles - Abelisauridae - Alioramus - Amphicoelias - Ankylosaurus - "Archaeoraptor" - Batrachotomus - Ceratopsia - Coelurus - Dromaeosauridae - Giganotosaurus - Gryposaurus - Heterodontosauridae - Herrerasaurus - Hypacrosaurus - Kritosaurus - Othnielosaurus - Pachycephalosaurus - Saurolophus - Sauropelta - Scelidosaurus - Species of Allosaurus - Species of Psittacosaurus - Spinosaurus - Tyrannosauroidea

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Current Dinosaur FACs - Dromaeosauroides - Nigersaurus

Associated Wikimedia

  1. ^ Newman, Garfield, et al (2001). Echoes from the past: world history to the 16th century. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd. ISBN 0-07-088739-X.