Skip to Main Content

Paleontology: Home


Paleontology is concerned with the origin, evolution and distribution of life forms, from organisms to ecosystems, in relation to the inanimate physical structures in which  they are embedded.  From paleontology’s earliest stages a prominent methodology has focused on the study of fossil remains of organisms, as evidence of life’s evolutionary changes and as clues for identifying strata.

Paleontology has several specialties; our guide divides them into two sections:

Subject Specialty I covers:

  • Vertebrate Paleontology - Study of fossils of animals with vertebrae or a notochord
  • Invertebrate Paleontology - Study of fossils of mollusks, arthropods, annelid worms and echinoderms
  • Paleoecology -  Study of the ecology of the past in regards to reconstructing past biota, populations, communities, landscapes, environments, and ecosystems from available geological and biological (fossil) evidence

Subject Specialty II covers:

  • Paleobotany - Study of fossil plants, algae, and fungi
  • Palynology - Study of pollen and spores both living and fossil
  • Micropaleontology - Study of microscopic fossil organisms

Please check out related research guides on the History of Geosciences and Natural History of the Greater Kansas City Region.

Geological Time

Diagram showing index fossils

General Paleontology Materials

Reference Assistance

Linda Hall Library Research Specialists are available all hours that the Library is open.  9-5 Central Time, Monday through Friday.

Call: 800.662.1545 or 816.926.8701

Email us at  or use the Reference Request Form.

Click here for more information about using the Library.