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Paleozoology is the natural science that is devoted to the study of fossil animals and as such is a sub-discipline of paleontology . The subject of paleozoology is mostly animal fossils of extinct animal species and genera , but there are also living animals that are fossilized today (e.g. the armpods Lingula or the coelacanth Latimeria ).

According to the subject of research and the methods, a distinction is usually made between the paleozoology of invertebrates (invertebrates) and the paleontology of vertebrates .

Many invertebrate fossils only occur frequently in sedimentary rock layers of a certain age and can therefore be used for the relative temporal classification of these rocks according to the principles of biostratigraphy . They are then referred to as key fossils .

One of the pioneers in paleozoology was Elisabeth Schmid .


  • Arno Hermann Müller : Textbook of paleozoology . 3 volumes. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Jena 1958–1994.