Difference between Archaeology and Paleontology

Key Difference: Archaeology deals with the studies of ancient art, customs and science through the process of recovery and analysis of things left behind. Paleontology deals with the studies of fossils through the process of analysis that also includes all life from bacteria and dinosaurs.

Archaeology deals with the study of human past and present, through the materials, which humans left behind. The materials that humans used, made, or modified are studied by archaeologists. They analyze skeletal remains and artifacts, such as tools, pottery, cave paintings, and ruins of buildings. The term is derived from the Greek word archaiologia, where archaio means “ancient” and logos means “science” and “study”. The science is archaeology, which deals with the study of ancient times. It provides an insight of the ancient times by analyzing the remained materials belonging to that time. It aims to preserve the history for present and future learning.

Paleontology deals with the study about fossils or evidence for formerly living animals and plants. It also includes all life, from bacteria to dinosaurs. The term is derived from the Greek word palaios, means “old”, “ancient” and logos means “speech”, “thought” and “study”. It is a mixture of biology and geology, but differs from archaeology because it excludes the study of morphological modern humans.

Comparison between Archaeology and Paleontology:

 

Archaeology

Paleontology

Description

Archeology deals with the study of ancient times. It provides an insight of the ancient times by analyzing the remained materials belonging to that time.

Paleontology deals with the study of fossils. It is the study of pre-historic life through the process of analysis that also includes all life from bacteria and dinosaurs.

Fields

  • Archaeometry - Artifact analysis, remote sensing, and radiocarbon dating like techniques are used in this field.
  • Underwater Archeology - underwater evidences are associated with it.
  • Classical – study of more civilized societies.
  • Environmental – the principles of the subject are applied to the study of environment.
  • Pseudo – a non-scientific approach is used.
  • Ethno – focuses on creating connection between the past and the present.
  • Historical – pertaining to the ancient historical sites.
  • Animal paleontologists – they focus on animal fossils.
  • Some look at plants or at micro-fossils.
  • Paleobotonists - study the fossils at flowers, seeds, leaves and wood.

Origin of the word

Greek archaiologia – "ancient" and logia "word" or "study."

Greek palaiologia –

“old”, “ancient” and logia “speech”, “thought” and “study”.

Pronunciation

ahr-kee-ol-uh-jee

pey-lee-uhn-tol-uh-jee

Famous personalities

Sir Arthur Evans - Archaeologist who discovered and excavated the Palace of Minos on the island of Crete.

Jacques Cousteau - inventor of the aqualung which led underwater divers to new depths of exploration.

Robert H. Bakker – leading the theory that dinosaurs are warm-blooded.

Edward Drinker Cope - known for his part in the Bone Wars.

Image Courtesy: independent.co., oceansofkansas.com

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