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Paleobiology (sometimes spelled palaeobiology) is a growing and comparatively new discipline which combines the methods and findings of the natural science biology with the methods and findings of the earth science paleontology. It is occasionally referred to as "geobiology."

Paleobiological or paleobiologic research uses biological field research of current biota and of fossils millions of years old to answer questions about the molecular evolution and the evolutionary history of life. In this scientific quest, macrofossils, microfossils and trace fossils are typically analyzed. However, the 21st-century biochemical analysis of D.N.A. and R.N.A. samples offers much promise, as does the biometric construction of phylogenetic trees.

An investigator in this field is known as a paleobiologist. Some of the more important research areas of paleobiologists are listed below:








Stratigraphic paleobiology

Evolutionary developmental paleobiology


The founder or "father" of modern paleobiology is said to be Baron Franz Nopcsa (1877 to 1933), a turn-of-the-century Balkan scientist. He is also known as Baron Nopcsa, Ferenc Nopcsa, and Franz Nopcsa von Felsö-Szilvás. He initially termed the discipline "paleophysiology."

See also


  • Derek E.G. Briggs and Peter R. Crowther, eds. (2003). Palaeobiology II. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing. ISBN 0-632-05147-7 and ISBN 0-632-05149-3. The second edition of an acclaimed British textbook.
  • Matthew T. Carrano, Timothy Gaudin, Richard Blob, and John Wible, eds. (2006). Amniote Paleobiology: Perspectives on the Evolution of Mammals, Birds and Reptiles. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226094782 and ISBN 978-0226094786. This new book describes paleobiological research into land vertebrates of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.
  • Robert B. Eckhardt (2000). Human Paleobiology. Cambridge Studies in Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521451604 and ISBN 9780521451604. This book connects paleoanthropology and archeology to the field of paleobiology.
  • Brian Keith Hall and Wendy M. Olson, eds. (2003). Keywords and Concepts in Evolutionary Biology. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674009045 and ISBN 9780674009042.
  • David Jablonski, Douglas H. Erwin, and Jere H. Lipps (1996). Evolutionary Paleobiology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 492 pages. ISBN 0226389111 and ISBN 0226389138. A fine American textbook.
  • Donald R. Prothero (2004). Bringing Fossils to Life: An Introduction to Paleobiology. New York: McGraw Hill. ISBN 0073661708 and ISBN 978-007366-1704. An acclaimed book for the novice fossil-hunter and young adults.
  • Mark Ridley, ed. (2004). Evolution. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0199267944 and ISBN 9781-405-103459. An anthology of analytical studies in paleobiology.
  • Raymond Rogers, David Eberth, and Tony Fiorillo (2007). Bonebeds: Genesis, Analysis and Paleobiological Significance. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0226723704 and ISBN 9780226723709. A new book regarding the fossils of vertebrates, especially tetrapods on land during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras.
  • Thomas J.M. Schopf (1980). Paleoceanography. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0674652150 and ISBN 9780674652156. A later book by the noted paleobiologist. This text discusses ancient marine ecology.
  • Paul Selden and John Nudds (2005). Evolution of Fossil Ecosystems. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-02267-46418 and ISBN 022-6746410. A recent analysis and discussion of paleoecology.
  • Bernard Ziegler and R. O. Muir (1983). Introduction to Palaeobiology. Chichester, England: E. Horwood. ISBN 0470275529 and ISBN 9780470275528. A classic, British introductory textbook.

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