From Big Medical Encyclopedia

PALEONTOLOGY (grech, palaios ancient + - on, ontos logos existing + the doctrine) — science about organisms of last geological eras which remained in the form of fossils. Modern P. is defined as science about manifestations of life available to studying in the geological past on organismal, population and ecosystems of nomas levels; being biol, by science, P. it is closely connected with historical geology. The founder P. consider Zh. Kyuvye, to-ry the first began to give the systematic course «History of Minerals» (1808). The significant contribution to P.'s development was made by domestic scientific V. O. Kowalewski (1842 — 1883), to-rogo by right consider the founder evolutionary the Item. As the main divisions in P. allocate the paleozoology which is divided, in turn, into a paleozoology of vertebrata and a paleozoology of invertebrates, and the paleobotany including a paleoalgologiya (studies fossil seaweed), a paleopalinologiya (studies pollen and disputes of ancient plants) and other sections. Further studying of bonds of populations of organisms of the past with each other and the environment led to allocation of a palaeoecology, detection of patterns of their geographical distribution depending on climate, tectonics, etc. — paleobiogeografiya, a research of specifics of fabrics, morpho-physiological systems and chemical features of ancient organisms — paleohistologies, paleofiziologiya, etc. Sciences about the modern organic world and P. combine the major biol, problems of speciation, factors and rates of evolution, the directions of evolution, etc. (see. Darwinism , Theory of evolution ).

See also Paleopathology .

Bibliography: Drushits V. V. and Obrucheva O. P. Paleontologiya, M., 1971; The Technique of paleontologic researches, under the editorship of B. Kammel and D. Rau pas, lane with English, M., 1973; Modern problems of paleontology, under the editorship of D. V. Obruchev and V. N. Shimansky, M., 1971; Brooks J. S h a w G. Origin and development of living systems, L. — N.Y., 1973.

T. A. Zaletayeva.