Definition of palaeontology in English:


(US paleontology)

Pronunciation /ˌpeɪlɪɒnˈtɒlədʒi//ˌpalɪɒnˈtɒlədʒi/


mass noun
  • The branch of science concerned with fossil animals and plants.

    • ‘He envisioned the nature of science and understood the roles of palaeontology, zoological geography, and animal psychology.’
    • ‘Its biennial meetings in Strasbourg are major events in the geological calendar and the programmes include papers on most aspects of the Earth sciences, including palaeontology.’
    • ‘Not only is phylogeny important for understanding paleontology, but paleontology in turn contributes to phylogeny.’
    • ‘The integration of molecular biology and paleontology can address many large-scale questions.’
    • ‘But there should be some mechanism that protects the rare fossils and the important sites that the science of palaeontology depends upon.’
    • ‘The sixty pages on palaeontology emphasize geology and stratigraphy and chiefly illustrate trilobites.’
    • ‘Amongst the group were experts in environmental management, ecology, geology, palaeontology, climatology and economics.’
    • ‘This is not a matter of altering paleontology to please molecular biology.’
    • ‘Numerous recent studies in vertebrate paleontology have focused on reconstructing the ecology of terrestrial fossil communities.’
    • ‘Be an expert on mineralogy, geology, paleontology or anything-ology.’
    • ‘And the same objection can be raised against any of the historical sciences including astronomy, evolutionary biology, geology and palaeontology.’
    • ‘There is more to paleontology than just using fossils to estimate the ages of rocks or their past environmental settings.’
    • ‘In practice, the book is a rambling history of discoveries, geology, astronomy, palaeontology, chaos theory and graphing techniques with more than a few unqualified generalisations.’
    • ‘The nine cored boreholes, four of which encountered chert beds, provide evidence of the stratigraphy, structure, palaeontology and depositional setting of the Rhynie and Windyfield cherts.’
    • ‘Other officers are involved in specialist work on matters such as ornithology, marine and freshwater ecology, palaeontology and genetically modified organisms.’
    • ‘After publication of the palaeomagnetic results, other field studies have supported this hypothesis on the basis of palaeontology and stratigraphy and matching of Devonian palaeocurrents and structural patterns.’
    • ‘In an attempt to resolve this conundrum, we have carried out multidisciplinary research involving field studies, radiometric dating, geochemistry, palaeontology and palaeomagnetism.’
    • ‘Wells synthesises the genetic evidence with current research in geology, palaeontology, archaeology, anthropology and linguistics to make a robust case for his account of the human journey.’
    • ‘His conclusion solves one of the greatest mysteries in the study of palaeontology or fossils.’
    • ‘Insect palaeontology depends on assigning fossils to extant taxa usually on the basis of wing characters.’


Mid 19th century: from palaeo- + Greek onta ‘beings’ (neuter plural of ōn, present participle of einai ‘be’) + -logy.