How to Become a Paleontologist
Paleontologist Job Description
Skills and Qualities of Paleontologists
Influential Professional Paleontologists
Leading Paleontologist Organizations
Top Cities for Paleontology Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
Most entry-level positions in paleontology require a master's degree in geology or earth science. There are a few positions that will accept a bachelor's degree in these fields of study for such entry level positions. If one is seeking a high-level research or wishes to teach paleontology at a University, a PhD is a necessity.
The aspiring Paleontologist will need to master areas such as classical geologic methods and topics which are mineralogy, petrology, paleontology, and structural geology. Those that are educated in other areas such as physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, engineering, or computer science may also qualify for positions in Geosciences providing that their studies included course work pertaining to geology.
There are several tools that paleontologist use to perform their work, such as picks, drills, chisels, drills, shovels and brushes. Another important instrument that is used is a magnifying glass which enables them to get a good close look at the fossils they are examining. Lastly, they utilize computers to evaluate their discoveries and compare what they have found to scientific data that already exists.
While most of the work that paleontologist do is performed outdoors at excavation sites, they also spend a lot of time in their laboratories analyzing, studying and comparing their results with the findings of their colleagues. Another task that is completed in their labs is researching and identifying different time periods that their fossils might have been from.
Other notable skills that one must possess are oral and written communication skills and good interpersonal skills. This is due to the fact that you will be most often be required to work with a team of professionals such as other scientist, engineers, and technicians.3 You will also be responsible for preparing scientific reports and proposals that will explain your research and findings.
Considering that many positions require travel it may be beneficial if you are fluent in a second language. It is a must that you are able to think logically and critically, be inquisitive and extremely analytical. Aside from these mental capabilities, you will also have to have endurance if you are going to participate in fieldwork as the excavation processes are physically demanding.
Neil H. Landman, a modern day Paleontologist is holds a PhD from Yale University. His main focuses have been on the study of ammonoids and nauiloids and how this information can be used to reconstruct the development of this group. His interest include evolution and life history among other things. He has many significant publications and is an accomplished professor at City and Brooklyn College and holds a position as a Curatorial Affiliate at the Yale/Peabody Museum of Natural History. Other accomplished Paleontologists to mention are Niles Eldredge, PhD, John J Flynn, PhD and Jin Meng, PhD. You can find more information on accomplished and influential Paleontologists at: http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/permanent/fossilhalls/personalities/
Uinta Paleontological Associates, Inc is a leader in the field and was established in 1992 as a parent organization for research and consulting performed by Sue Ann Bilbey, PhD the company's president. This company focuses on completing projects in as little time as possible and has been affiliated with industry, academia, museums, and the consulting community. They are known for working with professionals that produce quality reports and do their work as efficiently as possible.
Triebold Paleontology, Inc is another leader in the industry. They are broad based and focused on the preservation of fossils. They employ a full time staff to engage in the exploration and collection of dinosaurs, marine, reptiles and giant fish for the purpose of restoration and casting. The company has been offering services for over two decades and is currently headed up by Tracie Bennitt. They work with top scientist around the globe and they work with museums, exhibitors and universities around the globe. They are currently designing a new exhibit called "Bringing Dinosaurs to Life...How Art and Science Shape Our Image of the Past," that they are taking bookings at this time for 2010 and beyond.
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