Category talk:Prehistoric life

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Prehistoric life?[edit]

As a palaeontologist I should make some comment to the bad usage of the word 'prehistoric'. History is the period from which we have written sources, texts made by man. This (history) is a term that is connected with us, humans. Something is 'historic' if this happened during this period. Prehistory is the time that precedes history, so this is also connected with man. A historic animal is an animal that lived in history, that means it lived during the period from which written sources are known. A prehistoric animal is likewise connected to the period that Homo existed, but during the period from which written sources are absent. So the prehistory lasts about until 2.5 ma ago, at the maximum. There is no prehistory before Homo. Each fossil that is older than first Homo is by definition not prehistoric. One could argue as well that is is not only time but also neighbourhood of prehistoric man and animal/other life, even that 'fossils of both should occur in the same site and/or context'.

I avoid the word prehistoric if 'species that only occur as a fossil' are meant. The term 'prehistoric' as referring to fossils points to a misconception of both 'prehistoric' and 'fossil'. I am aware of the popular usage of the term 'prehistoric animals', however, this should not imply that wikipedia should adopt misconceptions. In fact most, if not all socalled prehistoric animals are extinct. You may thus change prehistoric into extinct, and/or lump both categories. Best wishes, --Tom Meijer (talk) 07:35, 25 August 2010 (UTC)