Table of Contents
- Who is a paleontologist?
- What do paleontologists actually do?
- How to become a paleontologist?
- Step 1- Bachelor’s degree
- Step 2- Master’s degree
- Step 3- Doctorate degree
- Eligibility criteria
- Step 4 – Internship programs
- Popular universities for studying paleontology courses
- Institutions in India that offer courses for a paleontologist
- Jobs for a paleontologist
- Salary of a paleontologist
- Famous paleontologist
- Key takeaways
Who is a paleontologist?
A paleontologist is a scientist who examines the fossilized remains of all kinds of species, including plants, animals, and every single sort of living thing, to learn more about the evolution of life on Earth. A paleontologist is interested in learning about the origins of biological life on Earth.
They research the interactions and connections between ancient plants and animals and their surviving modern-day counterparts. Paleontologists investigate the intricate details of fossils, combining each of them to reveal various eras of the past that gave rise to life on earth. They strive to apply their scientific inferences to the current extinction occurrences as they explore the historical circumstances that caused the extinction.
What do paleontologists actually do?
You indeed need a degree to become a paleontologist, but you also need to possess talents that are appropriate for the field. For instance, you must master data analysis techniques to draw exact inferences from your fieldwork-based scientific discoveries. Take a good look to add the following to your list.
- A profound understanding of mathematics is required in order to make data analysis easy
- Geography knowledge is required for precise mapping
- Analytical abilities to evaluate the facts critically
- Excellent written and vocal communication skills are required to present your research’s findings and conclusion in an appropriate way
- Proficiency in science to investigate items scientifically
- Knowledge in the field of physics
- Excellent command of chemistry to use and discard chemicals properly and minimize any dangers
- Proficiency in a variety of field-relevant applications and computer technologies
How to become a paleontologist?
In addition to having a strong foundation in maths and physics, you should choose science as a topic for your graduate program. You would need to pick a reputable institution that offers the appropriate courses in the area. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to become the best paleontologist there is!
Step 1- Bachelor’s degree
You must earn the appropriate degree in order to work as a paleontologist. You can start by submitting an application for a bachelor’s degree in either geology or biology. The vast majority of scientific disciplines are also permitted. But a paleontologist’s primary areas of interest include geology, biology, geography, and environmental sciences. To be able to understand the principles of geology and biology, it is crucial to have a strong understanding and background in science. A paleontologist often needs a double degree in biology and geology. To major in one topic and minor in the other is an additional option.
- Bachelor of Science (Animal Biology)
- BSc (Hons) Environmental Biology
- Bachelor of Science in Geophysics
- Bachelor of Science in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
- Bachelor of Science in Biology – Ecology and Organismal Biology
- BSc Environmental Geology and Chemistry
- Bachelor of Science in Plant Sciences
- BSc (Hons) Exploration Geology
- Bachelor of Science in Earth Sciences
Step 2- Master’s degree
You must enroll in a course with a special concentration on paleontology and its associated areas, such as integrative biology, planetary sciences, and geography as well, in order to get a master’s degree in paleontology. Although many colleges and universities do not particularly offer a paleontology department, you must enroll in courses in other sciences in order to earn your degree in this situation. These degrees include coursework in structural geology, mineral sciences, vertebrate and invertebrate paleontology, and evolutionary paleo-biology.
A postgraduate degree might provide you with fresh opportunities to pursue a Ph.D. degree and advance your research abilities.
- MSc Applied Ecology and Conservation
- Master of Science in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
- Master of Geoscience
- MSc Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation
- Master of Science in Integrative Biology
- Master of Science in Earth Sciences
- Master of Science in Plant Pathology
- Master of Mineral Resources – Exploration Geology
- Structural Geology with Geophysics MSc
Step 3- Doctorate degree
- Doctor of Philosophy in Biology – Bioinformatics, Systematics, and Evolution
- Doctor of Philosophy in Ecology and Evolution
- Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Health: Biostatistics
- Doctor of Philosophy in Mineral Deposits and Precambrian Geology
- Ph.D. in Evolutionary Biology
- Geology Ph.D./MPhil – Palaeobiology, Palaeoenvironments, and Palaeoclimates
Getting complete information about the prerequisites for admission to the degree is one of the most important measures to do before applying to a Palaeontology program.
- You must have a foundation in physics, chemistry, and biology to apply for a bachelor’s degree in paleontology.
- If you’re seeking a Ph.D. in paleontology, you generally need to have a postgraduate degree in geology or other earth science.
- You must take a test of your English language competence, such as TOEFL or IELTS if you are applying to schools overseas.
Step 4 – Internship programs
You can participate in training and mentorship programs to be ready for a career in paleontology. Frequent stipends are given during these programs so that you may easily satisfy your professional needs. You may interact with professionals in the area and learn from them as well. In a museum, there are internship chances to assist with curating and item study. You might also look for possibilities to help a researcher with their scientific investigation and experiments. You’ll be able to do this to increase your possibilities for future employment by gaining practical experience.
Popular universities for studying paleontology courses
It’s time to hunt for a university that meets your needs when you’ve finally decided on a good subject. Select from the list of reputable universities below:
- Deakin University
- University of California – Santa Cruz
- University College Dublin
- University of Montana
- Cardiff University
- The University of Sydney
- University of Texas – El Paso
- Michigan State University
- The University of Queensland
- University of East Anglia
- University of Massachusetts – Amherst
- University of Leicester
Institutions in India that offer courses for a paleontologist
- Jadavpur University
- Banaras Hindu University
- Presidency University
- Delhi University
- IISER Kolkata
Jobs for a paleontologist
Since this is an interdisciplinary profession that includes everything from biology to geology, it’s not difficult for a student to find a job that will help them further their career. The Bureau of Labour Statistics projects that between now and 2028, the employment of geoscientists will increase by 6%. Potential job descriptions include:
- Research specialist
- Museum research and collections manager
- Museum curator
- Paleontology principal investigator
- Paleontological field technician
Salary of a paleontologist
Palaeontologists can earn up to INR 67,53,694 ($91,130) on average each year. The pay of paleontologists varies. It relies on their skill set and capacity for study.
- Henry Fairfield Osborn
- James Hall
- Benjamin Franklin Mudge
- William Buckland
- Stephen Jay Gould
- John Ostrom
- Alan Walke
- Mary Anning
- Charles Darwin
- Palaeontologists can earn up to INR 67,53,694 ($91,130) on average each year.
- You must have a foundation in physics, chemistry, and biology to apply for a degree in paleontology.
- Proficiency in science subjects, technologies, and data analysis is a must to become a paleontologist.
- It’s not difficult for a student to acquire a job that will assist them in their career because this is an interdisciplinary field that involves everything from biology to geology.
We hope that this blog has provided you with all the information you need to know about paleontology and how to become a paleontologist. Are you still unsure which course to take? To choose the course that best suits your interests and long-term objectives, get in touch with our professionals at iSchoolConnect. Today, schedule a free consultation with us. Click here to reach out to us for more information on paleontology courses. We would be happy to assist you with your queries!
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Q1. What three tasks do palaeontologists perform?
Answer – Palaeontologists determine the fossils’ position. They search for fossils by excavating sedimentary rock strata. They also collect data on the fossils (age, location, etc.) using particular instruments (chisels, drills, picks, shovels, brushes) to do excavation.
Q2. What abilities are required in palaeontologists?
Answer – Palaeontologists evaluate the unearthed materials and develop or test informed hypotheses using problem-solving and analytical abilities. While conducting research to determine potential places for dig sites and organic relics, they might also need to exercise their critical thinking abilities.
Q3. How many hours does a palaeontologist work in a day?
Answer – Palaeontologists who work as professors at universities or research institutions enjoy normal 40-hour work weeks in a pleasant setting.