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.autumn

Guide to Paleontology

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.autumn

Hi everyone!

 

I am very passionate about paleontology ever since I was young! And because I am not offered to study this course in my country, I am planning on self-studying and doing my own research. However, the problem is that I have absolutely no idea where to start! I would want to start right at the bottom, with the basics. So that when I move on and learn more about it, I will not be confused by terms or explanations.

 

So should I start with the geological timescale? Or with geology and plate tectonics? Some tips would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you! 

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ziggycardon

Hello,

 

Getting an accound on the forum is already a great start, lot's of information can be found here and ofcourse you can make great contacts here. 
Hard to say where you could start, ofcourse getting to know that geological timescale is a must normally, getting a hand in taxonomy is often very helpfull aswell as to understand evolution, to ID certain fossils and link their relations. 

But most of of all it is important to find out where you interest lies, in what periods you are interested or in what kind of fossils or what families, you can only find out by reading or by doing some fieldwork. 

Lot's of good literature out there, I am sure a lot of the other members can help you with that! 
 

The only thing I might help you with is this.

I've heard Coursera has a lot of great online courses about paleontology, I might take one myself in the near future! 
The ones I found so far are given by the University of Alberta and they have serveral topics on offer like therapod/bird evolution, marine reptiles and dinosaur paleobiology. 
Here is a link, might help you out. :)

https://www.coursera.org/learn/theropods-birds


Lot's of luck on the road to fullfilling your dream! :)

 

 

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FranzBernhard
9 hours ago, ziggycardon said:

But most of of all it is important to find out where you interest lies, in what periods you are interested or in what kind of fossils or what families, you can only find out by reading or by doing some fieldwork. 

Thats the point! What do you really want to do?

Besides online courses, there are several introductory palaentology books on the market. I would also suggest an introductory geology book. "Earth" by Press & Siever in the 1980ies was a very good one (as an example).

Franz Bernhard

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The Amateur Paleontologist

Hey there :) 

This book would be a really good place to start - 'Introducing Palaeontology' (by Patrick Jackson). Here's the amazon.co.uk link

Hope this helped!

Good luck with this adventure- it's a great path to follow, trust me ;)

 

-Christian

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Max-fossils

Hi there,

 

What I suggest you do is this: read the introductory books (proposed by the other members. There are also countless other nice books to start with, and this whole forum is also a fantastic place!). Soon enough you'll start to find a certain aspect of paleontology more interesting than others. That could be a certain group of animals (eg dinosaurs, mammals, ammonites, forams, etc), a certain time period (eg Pleistocene, Cretaceous, Carboniferous, etc), a more geological topic (eg mineralization in fossils, sedimentology, etc), or a more global topic (paleoclimatology, paleoecology, etc), etc. For example, I really like fossil bivalves. Hence I collect a lot of these, and do a lot of research on them, more than on other paleontological aspects. 

 

the good thing is that even if you choose a rather specific topic, like bivalves, you'll always be able to learn more about the topic, simply because there is so much to learn. The science also keeps on updating, because new species, theories and papers are released each day. One thing is sure, once you get truly hooked there's no more letting go!

 

So, read the introductory books, try to come up with a more specific topic that you find really interesting and/or wanna know more about, then do more research into that topic! 

And tadaa! You've become an amateur paleontologist, just like many others on this forum! ;) 

 

Good luck, and have fun!

 

Max

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