Timeline of paleontology

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Timeline of paleontology


Antiquity – 16th century

17th century

18th century

19th century

20th century

21st century

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fossil</span> Preserved remains or traces of organisms from a past geological age

A fossil is any preserved remains, impression, or trace of any once-living thing from a past geological age. Examples include bones, shells, exoskeletons, stone imprints of animals or microbes, objects preserved in amber, hair, petrified wood and DNA remnants. The totality of fossils is known as the fossil record.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mary Anning</span> British fossil collector and palaeontologist (1799–1847)

Mary Anning was an English fossil collector, dealer, and palaeontologist who became known around the world for the discoveries she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel at Lyme Regis in the county of Dorset in Southwest England. Anning's findings contributed to changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Georges Cuvier</span> French naturalist, zoologist and paleontologist (1769–1832)

Jean Léopold Nicolas Frédéric, Baron Cuvier, known as Georges Cuvier, was a French naturalist and zoologist, sometimes referred to as the "founding father of paleontology". Cuvier was a major figure in natural sciences research in the early 19th century and was instrumental in establishing the fields of comparative anatomy and paleontology through his work in comparing living animals with fossils.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Catastrophism</span> Geological theory of abrupt, severe change

In geology, catastrophism is the theory that the Earth has largely been shaped by sudden, short-lived, violent events, possibly worldwide in scope. This contrasts with uniformitarianism, according to which slow incremental changes, such as erosion, brought about all the Earth's geological features. The proponents of uniformitarianism held that the present was "the key to the past", and that all geological processes throughout the past resembled those that can be observed today. Since the 19th-century disputes between catastrophists and uniformitarians, a more inclusive and integrated view of geologic events has developed, in which the scientific consensus accepts that some catastrophic events occurred in the geologic past, but regards these as explicable as extreme examples of natural processes which can occur.

<i>Iguanodon</i> Ornithopod dinosaur genus from Early Cretaceous period

Iguanodon, named in 1825, is a genus of iguanodontian dinosaur. While many species found worldwide have been classified in the genus Iguanodon, dating from the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous, taxonomic revision in the early 21st century has defined Iguanodon to be based on one well-substantiated species: I. bernissartensis, which lived during the Barremian to early Aptian ages of the Early Cretaceous in Belgium, Germany, England, and Spain, between about 126 and 122 million years ago. Iguanodon was a large, bulky herbivore, measuring up to 9–11 metres (30–36 ft) in length and 4.5 metric tons in body mass. Distinctive features include large thumb spikes, which were possibly used for defense against predators, combined with long prehensile fifth fingers able to forage for food.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Vertebrate paleontology</span> Scientific study of prehistoric vertebrates

Vertebrate paleontology is the subfield of paleontology that seeks to discover, through the study of fossilized remains, the behavior, reproduction and appearance of extinct vertebrates. It also tries to connect, by using the evolutionary timeline, the animals of the past and their modern-day relatives.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gideon Mantell</span> British scientist and obstetrician

Gideon Algernon Mantell MRCS FRS was an English obstetrician, geologist and palaeontologist. His attempts to reconstruct the structure and life of Iguanodon began the scientific study of dinosaurs: in 1822 he was responsible for the discovery of the first fossil teeth, and later much of the skeleton, of Iguanodon. Mantell's work on the Cretaceous of southern England was also important.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William Buckland</span> English geologist and palaeontologist (1784-1856)

William Buckland DD, FRS was an English theologian who became Dean of Westminster. He was also a geologist and palaeontologist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coprolite</span> Fossilized feces

A coprolite is fossilized feces. Coprolites are classified as trace fossils as opposed to body fossils, as they give evidence for the animal's behaviour rather than morphology. The name is derived from the Greek words κόπρος and λίθος. They were first described by William Buckland in 1829. Before this, they were known as "fossil fir cones" and "bezoar stones". They serve a valuable purpose in paleontology because they provide direct evidence of the predation and diet of extinct organisms. Coprolites may range in size from a few millimetres to over 60 centimetres.

<i>Hylaeosaurus</i> Ankylosaurian dinosaur genus from Early Cretaceous Period

Hylaeosaurus is a herbivorous ankylosaurian dinosaur that lived about 136 million years ago, in the late Valanginian stage of the early Cretaceous period of England. It was found in the Grinstead Clay Formation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kirkdale Cave</span> Cave in North Yorkshire, England

Kirkdale Cave is a cave and fossil site located in Kirkdale near Kirkbymoorside in the Vale of Pickering, North Yorkshire, England. It was discovered by workmen in 1821, and found to contain fossilized bones of a variety of mammals not currently found in Great Britain, including hippopotamuses, elephants and cave hyenas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of paleontology</span> History of the effort to understand the history of life on Earth by studying the fossil record

The history of paleontology traces the history of the effort to understand the history of life on Earth by studying the fossil record left behind by living organisms. Since it is concerned with understanding living organisms of the past, paleontology can be considered to be a field of biology, but its historical development has been closely tied to geology and the effort to understand the history of Earth itself.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mary Ann Mantell</span>

Mary Ann Mantell was a British fossil collector and the wife of the British paleontologist Gideon Mantell. She is credited – although this is disputed – with the discovery of the first fossils of Iguanodon and provided several pen and ink sketches of the fossils for her husband's scientific description of the Iguanodon.

Martin John Spencer Rudwick is a British geologist, historian, and academic. Rudwick is an emeritus professor of History at the University of California, San Diego and an affiliated research scholar at Cambridge University's Department of History and Philosophy of Science. His principal field of study is the history of the earth sciences; his work has been described as the "definitive histories of the pre-Darwinian earth sciences". Rudwick was an early scholar to critique the conflict thesis regarding religion and science.

Paleontology or palaeontology is the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of plant and animal fossils. This includes the study of body fossils, tracks (ichnites), burrows, cast-off parts, fossilised feces (coprolites), palynomorphs and chemical residues. Because humans have encountered fossils for millennia, paleontology has a long history both before and after becoming formalized as a science. This article records significant discoveries and events related to paleontology that occurred or were published in the year 1822.

<i>Duria Antiquior</i> 1830 painting by Henry De la Beche

Duria Antiquior, a more ancient Dorset, was the first pictorial representation of a scene of prehistoric life based on evidence from fossil reconstructions, a genre now known as paleoart.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paleontology in New Jersey</span>

Paleontology in New Jersey refers to paleontological research in the U.S. state of New Jersey. The state is especially rich in marine deposits.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paleontology in Utah</span> Paleontological research in Utah

Paleontology in Utah refers to paleontological research occurring within or conducted by people from the U.S. state of Utah. Utah has a rich fossil record spanning almost all of the geologic column. During the Precambrian, the area of northeastern Utah now occupied by the Uinta Mountains was a shallow sea which was home to simple microorganisms. During the early Paleozoic Utah was still largely covered in seawater. The state's Paleozoic seas would come to be home to creatures like brachiopods, fishes, and trilobites. During the Permian the state came to resemble the Sahara desert and was home to amphibians, early relatives of mammals, and reptiles. During the Triassic about half of the state was covered by a sea home to creatures like the cephalopod Meekoceras, while dinosaurs whose footprints would later fossilize roamed the forests on land. Sand dunes returned during the Early Jurassic. During the Cretaceous the state was covered by the sea for the last time. The sea gave way to a complex of lakes during the Cenozoic era. Later, these lakes dissipated and the state was home to short-faced bears, bison, musk oxen, saber teeth, and giant ground sloths. Local Native Americans devised myths to explain fossils. Formally trained scientists have been aware of local fossils since at least the late 19th century. Major local finds include the bonebeds of Dinosaur National Monument. The Jurassic dinosaur Allosaurus fragilis is the Utah state fossil.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Paleontology in the United States</span>

Paleontology in the United States refers to paleontological research occurring within or conducted by people from the United States. Paleontologists have found that at the start of the Paleozoic era, what is now "North" America was actually in the southern hemisphere. Marine life flourished in the country's many seas. Later the seas were largely replaced by swamps, home to amphibians and early reptiles. When the continents had assembled into Pangaea drier conditions prevailed. The evolutionary precursors to mammals dominated the country until a mass extinction event ended their reign.

Research history of <i>Anoplotherium</i> Studies of an genus of endemic Paleogene European artiodactyls

The research history of Anoplotherium spans back to 1804 when Georges Cuvier first described the fossils of this extinct artiodactyl and named the genus after describing Palaeotherium, making it one of the first fossil mammal genera to be described as well as having one of the earliest official taxonomic authorities. It was also amongst the first fossil genera to be reconstructed by drawings and biomechanics. Subsequent descriptions of fossil evidence by Cuvier are also said to have been some of the earliest instances of palaeoneurology and palaeopathology. Anoplotherium was a significant find in palaeontological history and was once an iconic element of text and classroom sources of palaeontology, geology, and natural history. Today, it has a lessened cultural status compared to the 19th century as a result of public interest in Mesozoic dinosaurs or Neogene-Quaternary mammals, but it is still regularly acknowledged in sources of the history of palaeontology.


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