From CreationWiki, the encyclopedia of creation science
Paleontology is the study of the forms of life existing in prehistoric times, chiefly by studying the fossils of plants, animals, and other organisms. A paleontologist is a scientist who studies aspects such as morphology, behavior, and how ancient life interacted with their environment.
Paleontology is based on uniformitarian geology, which holds that there has been no Biblical flood, but instead it is believed the layers of strata represent vast geologic ages. Based on this assumption, paleontologists examine and characterize fossils.
Within paleontology, there are branches and areas of specializations based on the particular type of organism. The study of prehistoric humans is known as Paleoanthropology, animal paleontology is Paleozoology, and the branch which studies ancient plants is called Paleobotany.
Paleontologists are often incorrectly referred to as archaeologists, because of public perception regarding similarities in techniques (i.e., both "dig in the dirt for old things"). There is somewhat of a blurring between archaeology and paleoanthropology, and even more so between paleoanthropology and some branches of paleozoology.
- Main Article: Paleoanthropology
Paleoanthropology is a specialized branch of physical anthropology involved with the study of ancient human beings. Paleoanthropologists are those investigating the origin and subsequent evolution of human physiology by examining fossil remains and other ancient evidence.
Mainstream anthropologists and archaeologists believe that humans began domesticating animals and plants in the Middle East about 10-12,000 years ago. The earliest known civilization, the Sumerians, developed in Mesopotamia about 7,000 years ago, after humans had developed agriculture sufficiently. This is the same location where many of the early Biblical stories in Genesis are set.
- Main Article: Paleozoology
- Archaeopteryx is classified as late Jurassic, and dated by evolutionary dating methods at 150 million years.
- Dinosaur is undoubtedly the most popular group of animals studied by paleontologists.
- Plesiosaur is an extinct marine reptile that is found in strata identified as the Mesozoic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous Eras.
- Pterosaur is not scientifically classified as a dinosaur but more like a flying lizard, they have unique characteristics that set them apart from reptiles, birds, and bats.
- Mammoth is an extinct form of elephant. There are three different types of mammoths whose skeletons have been found in North America.
- Main Article: Paleobotany
Paleobotany is involved with the study of ancient plants. It is an important area of creation biology, as creationism and evolutionism have radically different descriptions of ancient plant life. Creationism holds that a wide variety of plant life was created by God fully intact with the capacity to reproduce and adapt to changing environments, approximately 6,000 years ago. Evolutionism holds that all plant life (and indeed all life on the planet) is related by common descent over millions of years, and that more complex plants developed more recently than simpler plants.
- In the Canadian Rockies, a Major Fossil Find Intensifies the Object of Darwin's Doubt Sudden appearance of complex body plans mystified scientists in Darwin's day, and continues to pose a severe challenge. Evolution News & Views, February 13, 2014.
- Another Notable Explosion: Has Darwin's "Abominable Mystery," the Origin of Flowering Plants, Been Solved? Much like the Cambrian explosion of invertebrates, the rapid rise and early diversification of flowering plants in the fossil record is now also supported by genomic studies - or is it? Evolution News & Views, January 2, 2014.
- Did the human family tree just get simpler? Skull stirs up debate Researchers conclude that specimens which supposedly represent several early human species might be merely different-sized individuals from the same species. NBC News, October 17, 2013.
- The Origin of Avian Flight: Comparing Explanations from Darwinism and Intelligent Design Flight makes a case for intelligent design, but Darwinian evolutionists have not been without their own explanations. Evolution News & Views, October 1, 2013.
- World's oldest dinosaur embryo bonebed yields organic remains Collagen fibers have been found in embryo remains believed to be more than 175 million years old - suggesting they might be in fact much younger. Phys.Org, Apr 10, 2013.
- Dinosaur egg study supports evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs Fossil eggs reveal how Troodon dinosaur likely hatched its young. University of Calgary, April 18, 2013.
- Dinosaurs did their own version of the dog paddle, U of A researcher says Researchers found paddling marks left by what he suspects was an early tyrannosaur showing that they swam for quite a while using their powerful tail to propel themselves like a crocodile. Edmonton Journal, April 9, 2013.
- Australian Scientists Feud over Stampeding Dinosaurs A herd of dinosaurs left behind footprints in what has been interpreted as a stampede to escape a predator, but a young researcher now suggests that the animals were swimming. The World, April 3, 2013.
- Ancient Fossil looks like Today's Acorn Worms Fossils were found in some of the deepest fossil-bearing rocks to be virtually unchanged in 505 million years. ICR News, April 9, 2013.
- Ancient High Arctic camel offers climate change clues The most northerly spot to ever yield camel bones is raising important questions about the future of the warming Arctic. CTV News, Mar. 5, 2013.
- The Paleontology Portal (Not to be confused with the Paleontology Portal of CreationWiki)
- Paleontology at the U.S. Geological Survey