AskDefine | Define paleozoology

Dictionary Definition

paleozoology n : the study of fossil animals [syn: palaeozoology]

Extensive Definition

Paleozoology, also spelled as palaeozoology (Greek: paleon = old and zoon = animal), is the branch of paleontology or paleobiology dealing with the recovery and identification of multicellular animal remains from geological (or even archeological) contexts, and the use of these fossils in the reconstruction of prehistoric environments and ancient ecosystems.
Definitive, macroscopic remains of these metazoans are found in the fossil record from the Ediacaran period of the Neoproterozoic era onwards, although they do not become common until the Late Devonian period in the latter half of the Paleozoic era.
Perhaps the best known macrofossils group is the dinosaurs. Other popularly known animal-derived macrofossils include trilobites, crustaceans, echinoderms, brachiopods, mollusks, bony fishes, sharks, Vertebrate teeth, and shells of numerous invertebrate groups. This is because hard organic parts, such as bones, teeth, and shells resist decay, and are the most commonly preserved and found animal fossils. Exclusively soft-bodied animals -- such as jellyfish, flatworms, nematodes, and insects -- are consequently rarely fossilized, as these groups do not produce hard organic parts.

See also

paleozoology in German: Paläozoologie
paleozoology in Modern Greek (1453-): Αρχαιοζωολογία
paleozoology in Spanish: Paleozoología
paleozoology in Esperanto: Paleozoologio
paleozoology in French: Paléozoologie
paleozoology in Italian: Paleozoologia
paleozoology in Hebrew: פליאוזואולוגיה
paleozoology in Georgian: პალეოზოოლოგია
paleozoology in Lithuanian: Paleozoologija
paleozoology in Dutch: Paleozoölogie
paleozoology in Polish: Paleozoologia
paleozoology in Portuguese: Paleozoologia
paleozoology in Romanian: Paleozoologie
paleozoology in Tetum: Paleozoolojia
paleozoology in Ukrainian: Палеозоологія
paleozoology in Urdu: حیوانی حفریات
paleozoology in Chinese: 古动物学
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