Palaeontology: Scope and Career Opportunities

By George

The lost times are the best mysteries. The world today that we know was never the same. It has always been changing. Once there were giant reptiles ruling as the dominant species and today we, the primates standing at the same position.

Palaeontology: Scope and Career Opportunities


How do we know this? Discovery of fossils, in depth study and research of the same. Our curious minds couldn't fathom the fact that we just turned up out of no where. This adventure that took decades and centuries to study extinct beings and ancestors of Homo sapiens and other environmental factors led us to assume many phenomenons that the world accepts in consensus.

What is Palaeontology?

Palaeontology is the scientific study of fossils where the scientists try and find out the evolution of the organisms, how they lived their life and how they interacted with other organisms and the world around around them. It was established as a scientific study in the 18th century.

The palaeontologist base their theories on the information they acquire from biology, geology, biochemistry and mathematics. Using all these techniques the palaeontologists discovered that there was life on earth for a long time, by finding out the fossils and studying them. They look for identity, origin of the organisms, how they survived various situations, how they adapted to changes and how they evolved or died away.

What Skills Would you Require to become a Palaeontologist?

A palaeontologist needs to have certain qualification and skills to get into the subject and keep on the research. Just knowing will not help. There are many other skills that are required.

It is given that you need a degree. But additional to a degree you need to have a strong base in mathematics and science.

You need to have digital mapping and data analysis skills. With the advent of advanced technology discovering of fossils and finding out about them is heavily relied on computer systems.

You need to know how to file reports and have good communication skills.

There will be a lot of research and studying involved so you have to set yourself straight for some serious work. It might be fun and adventurous to find a fossil, but the formalities and paperwork that is followed is a lot.

Also Read: Parasitology: Career Opportunities and Scope

How can you become a Palaeontologist?

If you are still in school and dream of digging out a new species of dinosaur then the first step you have to take is focus on mathematics and all the subjects of science.

  • Get into a college which has a good reputation for science subjects. You can go for your undergraduate course in any pure science subject. You can go for biology, geology or preferably both.
  • Taking up a double major or double degree would be the best best option, or else focus on one subject as your major while you take the others as well.
  • Study at least a year of physics, chemistry and mathematics as part of your bachelor's degree coursework.
  • Take up an Msc course in paleontology. If you wish to study abroad, then you might have better chances of finding courses that offer better opportunities in a graduate course.
  • Continue your research and studies by taking up a doctral degree in Palaentology, which is a must. Choose an institution where the faculty and the syllabus is known to be of exquisite quality.

What will you be doing?

As a palaeontologist you will be finding work in universities and colleges where you will be teaching geology as well as palaeontology.

Some paleontologists find opportunities in museums and while they focus and carry on with their own research.

Many Palaeontologists find work in surveys that are conducted by the government. The public may have very little knowledge about such opportunities, and thus careers like palaeontology are left away.

One will be travelling to historic and exotic places, looking for the traces of life from the past and understanding the world which was.

How much will you be earning?

The salary that a palaeontologists gets usually depends on aspects like the education level, the experience the scientist has acquired and the location of their work. What responsibilities they take in their area of work is also considered.

Private sectors offer extremely high salaries especially if the scientist has really good experience and qualifications.

Initially a paleontologist can expect a salary between 15000/- to 25000/- per month which will ascend with experience and work.

Also Read: Bioethics: Scope and Career Opportunities

Top Institutions offering a course in palaeontology in India

Top Institutions offering a course in palaeontology around the world

  • University of California, USA
  • University of Bristol, UK
  • University of Alberta, Canada
  • University Of Toronto, Canada
  • University Of Waterloo, Canada

Also Read: What is Anthropology? Scope and Career opportunities

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