Paleozoology, also spelled as palaeozoology (Greek: παλαιον, paleon = old and ζωον, zoon = animal), is the branch of paleontology or paleobiology dealing with the recovery and identification of multicellular animal remains from geological (or even archeological) contexts, and the use of these fossils in the reconstruction of prehistoric environments and ancient ecosystems.
Definitive, macroscopic remains of these metazoans are found in the fossil record from the Ediacaran period of the Neoproterozoic era onwards, although they do not become common until the Late Devonian period in the latter half of the Paleozoic era.
Perhaps the best known macrofossils group is the dinosaurs. Other popularly known animal-derived macrofossils include trilobites, crustaceans, echinoderms, brachiopods, mollusks, bony fishes, sharks, Vertebrate teeth, and shells of numerous invertebrate groups. This is because hard organic parts, such as bones, teeth, and shells resist decay, and are the most commonly preserved and found animal fossils. Exclusively soft-bodied animals -- such as jellyfish, flatworms, nematodes, and insects -- are consequently rarely fossilized, as these groups do not produce hard organic parts.
- History of invertebrate paleozoology
- Animalia, taxonomic kingdom of
- Index fossils -- a.k.a. guide fossils
- Invertebrate paleontology covers most animal phyla
- Macrofossils -- easily visible fossil evidence
- Metazoa -- animal kingdom
- Microfossils -- microscopic fossil evidence
- Paleobiology -- biology and paleontology
- Trace fossils -- indirect evidence of prehistoric life
- Vertebrate paleontology covers the subphylum Vertebrata