Paleontologists specialize in the study of fossils which are considered the means of finding out as much as possible about evolution and various forms of prehistoric life. Paleontologists are usually associated with the study of dinosaurs but in fact paleontologists study a wide variety of fossils including those from plants fungi and invertebrates. The website says that there are several categories of paleontologist and the type of work they do varies. For example vertebrate paleontology involves the study vertebrate remains and much of this work takes place on digs in the field. In contrast micropaleontology requires that most work be carried out in laboratories using microscopes to study tiny fossil organisms. Paleontologist must be educated on subjects such as sedimentation ecology vertebrate and invertebrate zoology genetics evolutionary biology as well as mineralogy and structural geology. Also they must be trained in the use of equipment that is commonly employed to study fossils. In addition they must be well-versed in statistical data analysis computer modeling digital mapping and geographical information systems. Most paleontologists work for research institutions laboratories museums colleges and universities but some are employed in the petroleum industry. The website says that some entry-level paleontology jobs accept people with a bachelor’s degree in geology or earth science. However most jobs require a master’s degree and paleontologists will need to have a Ph.D. degree as well as field work experience if they want to conduct advanced research or teach at a college or university. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual earnings for paleontologists is approximately $73000.

Education Required: Bachelor's Degree
Avg Salary: $73000
High Salary: $83000
Low Salary: $63000
Tasks: Studies evolution, fossils and prehistoric life.
Studies samples in research laboratories.
Estimates what the earth was like in the distant past.
Helps to excavate layers of sedimentary rock.
Also Called: Fossil Expert
Fossil Researcher
Evolutionary Biologist
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