Print Paleontologist Reading Comprehension
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 9 to 12
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||coprolites, understanding, paleontologists, archaeology, geology, single-celled, probable, petroleum, reconstruct, historical, paleontology, accurate, mining, ecology, feces, attempt
By Cindy Grigg
1 Paleontology is the study of the history of life on Earth by studying fossils. A fossil is defined as any trace of a past life form. Past life forms include plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, and other single-celled living things. Wood, bones, and shells are the most common fossils. Under certain conditions, soft tissues like muscle or skin, eggs, tracks and trails, and even coprolites (fossilized feces) may be preserved as fossils. Most of the fossils that paleontologists study are several thousands to several billions of years old.
2 Paleontologists are scientists who study plants, dinosaurs, mastodons, wooly mammoths, and other organisms that lived in the ancient past. Paleontologists then make inferences about what, when, and how different types of organisms have existed on Earth over time. Inferences are logical conclusions drawn from something known to be true or from evidence such as fossils.
3 Paleontologists study fossils and attempt to use them to reconstruct the history of the Earth and the life on it. For example, paleontologists know that dinosaurs and humans never lived at the same time. Dinosaur fossils show that dinosaurs died out about sixty-five million years ago, while humans have only been around for about two and a half million years.
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