The science of paleontology is the study of fossils to gain an understanding of the past.  The word “fossil” comes from the Latin word “fossus”, meaning “having been dug up”.  Fossils are the preserved remains or impressions of animals and plants that have long since died, and, in most cases, were buried under dirt, rock, sand or some kind of substrate that has protected these remains over time.  As such fossils generally have to be dug up to be found, althougth rain and other natural events can sometimes uncover fossils, and so this seems an appropriate term to describe the evidence left by extinct life forms.


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