Paleontology is the scientific study of life existent prior to, but sometimes including, the start of the Holocene Epoch. It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms’ evolution and interactions with each other and their environments. Paleontology lies on the border between biology and geology, but differs from archaeology in that it excludes the study of morphologically modern humans.

Paleontology uses techniques drawn from a wide range of sciences, including biochemistry, mathematics and engineering. Use of all these techniques has enabled paleontologists to discover much of the evolutionary history of life, almost all the way back to when Earth became capable of supporting life, about 3.8 billion years ago.

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