I am a student of Class X. I want to be a paleontologist. What should I take in class 11? Are there any institutions in India or even abroad for paleontology? What courses should I take? Is there scope in India for this?
Eileen Rodrigues (14) / Chennai
Paleontology is more than just dinosaurs! It is the study of the history of life on Earth as reflected in the fossil record. Fossils are the remains or traces of organisms (plants, animals, fungi, bacteria and other single-celled living things) that lived up to billions of years ago. It’s an interdisciplinary field involving geology, archaeology, chemistry, biology, archaeology and anthropology.
To enter into this field, take physics, chemistry and biology in 10+2. Then go for graduation followed by a Master’s degree in paleontology, geology or earth science. A doctoral degree or Ph.D. is almost always necessary for any serious professional career in paleontology, especially as a researcher or a professor.
Paleontologists are employed by both public and private sectors. Museums hire them to locate and identify fossilized remains for exhibits and for additional research. There they work as curators, researchers, collection managers, etc. They may work with geologists for identifying fossils, giving programmes or tours, consulting with industry. A few work for oil companies or in government as consultants helping to solve geological problems.
Dr Vibha Gupta, a feature writer, is a Ph.D. in Mathematics from IIT Roorkee. Her book Careers: A Pathfinder and articles in various publications are an attempt to guide students in choosing a career according to their natural strengths, talents and skills.