Why do scientists study fossils
Department of Earth Sciences
Studying paleontology - what can I expect from my studies?
There is no gold and silver waiting for you, but many story-telling fossils.
Paleontology combines biology with geology and goes in search of fossils, which are then examined to determine their age and to draw conclusions about earlier forms of life and their current significance. A Paleontology degree course therefore not only offers dry lectures, seminars and geological mapping, but also goes into the practical area. You will do internships and go off-road more often in courses. The course consists of sub-areas of biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics. So you shouldn't be averse to the natural sciences.
The Paleontology degree prepares you very well for everyday professional life, because the extensive scientific studies particularly train teamwork and flexibility.
Paleontology deals with organisms from past geological ages. To this end, the discipline examines the remains of organisms that occur in sedimentary rocks, as well as other indications that point to past life and are subsumed under the term fossil. In biological terms, paleontology includes sub-disciplines such as the paleozoology of invertebrates, vertebrates such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals, as well as paleoanthropology, which deals with human tribal history. Paleobotany studies fossil plants, their pollen and spores. Furthermore, the palichnology is dedicated to the traces of fossil living beings. The master's degree in paleontology imparts knowledge and methods in fossilization and paleoecology, terrestrial actuopalaeontology, paleonotlogical evolutionary research, paleoclimatology and biogeography, hominid evolution, sedimentology, fossil aquatic ecosystems or archeobiology.
The choice of the subject "palaeontology", which can only be taken in the context of a geoscientific course, is usually made out of a special already existing interest.
We have put together some information about the course and content of the course here, which may make it easier for you to decide which subject to study. The student representative from the Advisory Board of the Paleontological Society will be happy to answer any questions.
In addition to the usual lectures, seminars, geological mapping, university and professional internships, the course mainly consists of stays in the field. The basics in other disciplines such as biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics are also part of the basic course. In addition, spatial imagination, scientific thinking in terms of time and space, teamwork and flexibility are trained in particular. Knowledge of English should be brought along or acquired on the side, because at the latest when things get really interesting, the specialist literature is only available in English.
It is always very helpful to accept unskilled work. These student assistant science jobs (HiWis) give you the opportunity to get to know your later work in addition to improving your account. Most of it can be learned from a practical example!
In summary, it can be said that a geoscientific degree with the Focus on paleontology a solid education, an extensive academic spectrum, good career prospects and, last but not least, a lot of fun.
(Source: © 2011 Palaeontological Society)
Lectures in the field of paleontology at the Free University of Berlin
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