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Paleontology is the study of  ancient geologic life based on fossil remains.  Fossils are the remnants of animals, plants, and other organisms from ancient times that have been preserved in rock or amber.  

Types of Fossils. Palaeontologists are people who study fossils and have divided fossils into two categories: body fossils and trace fossils.  Body fossils will be the remains of plant or animals such as bones, shells, or leaves.  The parts that are fossilized are usually teeth or bones which were mineralized when the organism living. Trace fossls will tell the activity of an anmial such as the footprints or fossil feces.  The size of a fossil can range from a microscopic single bacteria cell to the size of a dinosaur or tree.  

Fossils are formed by favorable environmental conditions of a quick burial in such materials as sedimentary rock, asphalt pits, bogs, and even volcanic ash.  Decay is prevented because of lack of oxygen and bacteria and lack of erosion of such materials as rock.  Due to certain conditions  the skeleton remains have been preserved and embedded in materials of past geologic time and have produced many different types of fossils.  

Paleontology. (2013). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1.

Fossil. (2013). Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th Edition, 1.

Video "Fossil Magic in Rocks"