Paleornithology also known as Avian Paleontology is the scientific study of bird evolution and fossil birds. It is a mix of ornithology
Ornithology is a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds. Several aspects of ornithology differ from related disciplines, due partly to the high visibility and the aesthetic appeal of birds...

 and paleontology
Paleontology "old, ancient", ὄν, ὀντ- "being, creature", and λόγος "speech, thought") is the study of prehistoric life. It includes the study of fossils to determine organisms' evolution and interactions with each other and their environments...

. Paleornithology began with the discovery of Archaeopteryx
Archaeopteryx , sometimes referred to by its German name Urvogel , is a genus of theropod dinosaur that is closely related to birds. The name derives from the Ancient Greek meaning "ancient", and , meaning "feather" or "wing"...

. The reptilian relationship of birds and their ancestors, the theropod dinosaurs, are important aspects of paleornithological research. Other areas of interest to paleornithologists are the early sea-birds Ichthyornis
Ichthyornis is a genus of toothed seabirds from the Late Cretaceous of North America. Its fossil remains are known from the chalks of Alberta, Alabama, Kansas, New Mexico, Saskatchewan, and Texas, in strata that were laid down in the Western Interior Seaway during the Turonian-Campanian ages,...

, Hesperornis
Hesperornis is a genus of flightless aquatic birds that spanned the first half of the Campanian age of the Late Cretaceous period . One of the lesser-known discoveries of the paleontologist O. C. Marsh in the late 19th century Bone Wars, it was an important early find in the history of avian...

, and others. Notable paleornithologists are Storrs L. Olson
Storrs L. Olson
Storrs Lovejoy Olson is an American biologist and ornithologist from the Smithsonian Institution. He is one of the world's foremost avian paleontologists....

, Alexander Wetmore
Alexander Wetmore
Frank Alexander Wetmore was an American ornithologist and avian paleontologist.-Life:Wetmore studied at the University of Kansas...

, Alan Feduccia
Alan Feduccia
Alan Feduccia is a paleornithologist, specializing in the origins and phylogeny of birds. He is now Professor Emeritus at the University of North Carolina. Feduccia's principal authored works include two books, The Age of Birds and The Origin and Evolution of Birds, and numerous papers in various...

, Philip Ashmole, Pierce Brodkorb
Pierce Brodkorb
Pierce Brodkorb , also stated as William Pierce Brodkorb, was an American ornithologist and paleontologist....

, Trevor H. Worthy
Trevor H. Worthy
Trevor H. Worthy is a paleozoologist from New Zealand known for his research work on the moa.In the late 1980s Worthy discovered the fossil remains of three frog species from the Leiopelmatidae family, the Aurora frog , the Markham's frog , and the Waitomo frog...

, Zhou Zhonghe
Zhou Zhonghe
Zhou Zhonghe is a Chinese palaeontologist. He described the ancient bird Confuciusornis.Zhou studied at the University of Nanjing and then worked at the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing.- External links :* - Chinese* - Chinese...

, Bradley C. Livezey
Bradley C. Livezey
Bradley Curtis Livezey was an American ornithologist. His main research included the evolution of flightless birds, the ecology and the behaviour of steamer ducks, genetic analysis of birds, and avian diseases....

 and David Steadman
David Steadman
David William Steadman is the curator of ornithology at the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.His research has concentrated on the evolution, biogeography, conservation, and extinction of tropical birds, particularly in the islands of the Pacific Ocean. He has also...


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