Paleontology

Paleontology is a historical science focused on explaining life on earth. The study of fossils can help us answer the question of where we came from.


Where on the planet can you visit to see with your own eyes the tracks left by dinosaurs? Fossilized dino footprints might be just outside your back door, but here are good places to start.

Researchers discovered that everyone's favorite prehistoric cat had some seriously big bones — even as a youngster.

Archaeologists discovered what they believe to be ruins of the Roman city of Neapolis — underwater near Tunisia.

The prehistoric penguin was the size of a small adult human, which says a lot about penguins' evolution.

And archaeologists figured it out with just a little DNA.

Although the trenched enclosures were probably used to conduct rituals, they can tell us how the ancient indigenous people of the Amazon managed their forests.

Most mammals have a penis bone called a baculum, but humans don't. A new study sheds light on the history of the baculum, and why ours is missing.

Could this new underwater find shed light on the enigmatic ancient computing device known as the Antikythera Mechanism?

A stone slab unearthed in northern Italy has revealed its first big discovery: the name of an Etruscan goddess in a lost language.

The perfectly preserved remains of a 3,000-year-old settlement called Must Farm provide a window into the lives of the Bronze Age Britons.

Wadi Sura's enigmatic cave art gives a glimpse into a society where lines between human and animal were very, very blurry. New research has solved some of the mystery.

Antarctica is tough to get to. Tougher still, for a group of paleontologists, is not knowing what's under all that ice. This expedition looks to remedy that problem.

Can you keep ancient things you unearth? While the short answer is, yes, there are, of course, legal and ethical considerations depending on the circumstances.

Decades of fossil discoveries have revealed much about the extinct members of our hominid family tree, but we're far from having all the answers. What have we learned from some of these fascinating finds?

You likely heard that paleontologists uncovered a cache of dinosaur embryos, bone fragments and eggshells in China. You also may recall that we've made crazy leaps forward in genetics and genomics. Can we put the two together and create a dinosaur?

From dinosaur skeletons to petrified wood, fossils help us learn about prehistoric creatures' anatomy and physiology. See pictures of incredible examples of fossils from around the world.

Anthropologists specialize in, well, us. But studying humankind doesn't mean you have to hole up in a library or laboratory. Take a peek at this article to learn more about the dynamic, enriching field of anthropology.

Archaeologists dig up and study the material remains of human civilizations. Bioarchaeologists do the same thing, except they focus on the remains of, well, us. What's the big deal about old bones and teeth?

A sculpted mammoth shows visitors to the La Brea Tar Pits what these ancient animals might have looked like, but the pits themselves have looked the same for thousands of years. How did they form, and what discoveries lie beneath the sticky surface?

When it comes to fossils, specimens like Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex grab much of the attention. And while Sue is a staggering 67 million years old, she's a new kid on the block, compared to some of the oldest fossils ever found. What's older than Sue?

When you're trying to patch together human history, it helps to have a trick or two up your sleeve. And geoarchaeology, a scientific discipline with a fondness for fossils and soil, might be just that.

Not all archaeological digs take place in the sandy desert. Beneath the concrete sidewalks and streets and towering skyscrapers in our world's great cities are artifacts that tell stories.

While archaeological digs are still hands-on projects, some computer programs can help piece together a more complete picture of the site and even what its inhabitants might have looked like. What else can the software tell us?

In "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," Dr. Jones battles the Nazis for the Holy Grail. Did the Nazis really have an interest in archaeology? And if so, what fueled it?

In "The Raiders of the Lost Ark," Indiana Jones competes with grave-robbing Nazis for the lost Ark of the Covenant. But what defined Dr. Jones as legit and the Nazis as grave robbers?