Do Archaeologists Study Dinosaurs?

In short, no. Scientists who study dinosaur bones (or fossils) are paleontologists. Paleontology is the study of the history of life on Earth as based on fossils. That includes dinosaurs, other ancient animals, plants, and even bacteria. Paleontologists have a lot in common with archaeologists. Both excavate and study physical remains. The key difference is that archaeologists study the human past. Some archaeologists study animals or plants too, looking at the relationships that people had with them in the past.

The last of the dinosaurs died out about 65 million years ago. Our earliest hominid (human-like) ancestors didn’t arise until about 5 million years ago. So, people and dinosaurs never lived on our planet at the same time! Dinosaur fossils help paleontologists study the history of life on earth. But dinosaur bones aren’t necessarily helpful to archaeologists, who want to understand human history, unless the bones were used by humans in some way.

Paleontologists, archaeologists, and other scientists such as geologists, chemists, and biologists often work together to better understand ancient environments. For example, research teams at Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania are made up of archaeologists, paleontologists, and more. Olduvai Gorge is home to some of the earliest hominid fossils.

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