Paleoecology (Encyclopedia of Science)
Paleoecology is the study of fossil organisms and their relationship to ancient environments. Paleoecology falls under the broader category of paleontology (the study of fossils). A person who studies and investigates paleoecology is called a paleoecologist. The study of paleoecology is important to scientists because it reveals so much about such natural aspects of ancient history as wind conditions, climates, temperatures, and ocean activity. Critical to the field of paleoecology is the intense concentration of chemicals found in fossils; such chemical data reveals much information about the world of long, long ago.
The field of paleoecology was developed by American geologist (a person who studies the history of Earth) Kirk Bryan (1888950). Bryan focused his investigations on weather changes from the past by using information from ancient soils and pollen. His work gathered enough interest from the scientific community to help develop the field of paleoecology.
Paleoecologists can find clues about the ancient environment and the organisms that lived during a particular time on Earth by examining fossil organisms, the different varieties of those fossils, and the sediment in which they were found. Sediment is made up of rock particles, minerals, and fossil organisms that, due to the forces of weather and time, have deposited on top of each other, forming layers. These...
(The entire section is 464 words.)
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