Paleontology is a rich field, imbued with a long and interesting past and an even more intriguing and hopeful future. Many people think Paleontology is the study of fossils. Paleontology is much more. It is the study of what fossils tell us about the ecologies of the past, about evolution, and about our place, as humans, in the world. Paleontology incorporates knowledge from biology, geology, ecology, anthropology, archaeology, and even computer science to understand the processes that have led to the origination and eventual destruction of the different types of animals since life arose. The exhibits that we have set up here are created by Paleontogists. More than just an overview of the diversity that has existed through time on this planet, the exhibits also highlite some of the research Paleontologists are conducting at the Museum of Paleontology.
The exhibit might be visualized as starting at the center of a museum with halls spreading in each direction. Off the main hallway, many a smaller branch spread. Unlike normal hallways, the hallways you are following are actually the path that evolution is supposed to have taken. These halls are called scientifically cladograms and they show explicitly the ancestor and decendent relationships among lineages or groups of animals. Reconstructing this pattern of ancestry and descent is one of the many important areas where fossil information proves vital.
This hypermedia presentation is being prepared by Robert Guralnick, Tony Fiorillo, and David Polly of the Museum. This EXPO exhibit is a subset of a larger exhibit available on the Museum of Paleontology's own World Wide Web server.
Follow the steps to the entrance hall...