Become a Wyoming Junior Paleontologist

Paleontologists & Geologists

UW Geological Museum Paleontologists and Students Excavating an Eocene Crocodile

What Do Paleontologists Do?

Paleontologists study ancient life and that includes everything from bacteria, to plants, to bugs, to fish, to dinosaurs! But! The one animal that paleontologists don't study are humans, and that's because humans are so weird, there's an entire field of science dedicated to them called Archeology.

But, back to paleontology! More than anything else, paleontologists have to be lucky! it's not easy finding that have been buried for millions and millions of years, and unlike the movies, we don't have many tools to help us see deep under the ground very well. Most of the time, things have to be already uncovered before we can even find them!

Where are 5 places you might be able to find fossils? Can be a type of environment (desert, mountains, forest?), or even a place, like Wyoming!

Geologist pointing out an interesting fold in the Gypsum Springs Rock Formation of Wyoming.

What Do Geologists do?

Geologists study and try to understand how the Earth works! If geologists can understand how minerals like diamonds form, or how problems like earthquakes or landslides happen, they can predict how these same things might happen again! In a lot of ways, geologists help protect us from these scary events. They also can help companies and countries find things like rare diamonds, gold, or oil!

Do you think that geology and paleontology are related to each other? Can a paleontologist be a Geologist? Why or Why not?

Go on to Challenge #4 to identify what a paleontologist might use on a dig!