Paleontology is the study of life of past geological times based on the examination of fossil remains of plants and animals. Biostratigraphy is the part of paleontology that relates to the conditions and order of deposition of sedimentary rocks.
Information derived from the study of the evolution of important fossil groups is used to develop and modify the standard geological time scale for intercontinental correlation. This scale is the geological clock that records when geological events occurred. The study of fossils also leads to an understanding of ancient depositional environments. Examinations of the physical and chemical changes that fossils undergo over time can provide insight into the changing physical and chemical characteristics of sedimentary environments over time.
Paleontology research at GSC Calgary focuses mainly on microfossils (primarily conodonts and foraminifera) and palynomorphs (pollens and spores). We are responsible for the national collection of invertebrate and plant fossils. These fossils are systematically documented, stored and preserved in archives for future research, referencing, teaching and display.
- Conodont laboratory
- Foraminiferal laboratory
- Palynology laboratory
Expertise in paleontology
- Wayne Bamber (Paleozoic corals)
- Keith Dewing (Carbonate stratigraphy, Arctic Islands)
- Sandy McCracken (Lower Paleozoic and Devonian conodont microfossils)
- Robert MacNaughton (Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic trace fossils)
- Dave McNeil (Mesozoic and Cenozoic microfossils)
- Walter Nassichuk (Late Paleozoic ammonoids)
- Godfrey Nowlan (Lower Paleozoic and Precambrian microfossils)
- Barry Richards (Carboniferous stratigraphy and sedimentology, W. Canada)
- Arthur Sweet (Mesozoic and Cenozoic nonmarine palynology)
- John Utting (Upper Paleozoic and Triassic palynology)
- Tom Uyeno (Devonian conodont microfossils)
- James White (Mesozoic and Cenozoic palynology)