South Africa’s uniquely rich and diverse fossil record documents the earliest evidence of life in ancient humans, animal and plant species. Investigations of these past lifeforms help to explain the beginning of earths existence and identify and explain how life, landscapes and climate have changed over time and how living things have adapted to those changes. Palaeontology is the scientific study of the evolution of life on earth through fossil and other records.
Palaeontologists often work in teams with specialised professionals like anthropologists, curators and historians. They often travel to remote areas for relatively long periods of time working through excavation sites. They can also work in laboratories preserving artefacts or perform desk-based research in offices.
Palaeontologists require extensive knowledge of geology and biology and an understanding of heritage legislation and policy. They will additionally benefit from:
Conduct field work, excavate and identify the time period and geography of fossils
Analyse field data, laboratory samples and other data
Prepare reports and present research findings
Advise organisations about the potential impacts of fossil discoveries
B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Palaeontology at Wits
B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Archaeology at UCT and Wits
B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Geology at NMU, NWU, RU, SU, UCT, UFH, UFS, UJ, UKZN, UL, UP, UWC and Wits
Heritage sites and museums.