In Germany paleontologists often have graduated in geoscience study programs. At some universities, such as my Freibergian alma mater, paleontology is mostly taught as a branch of geology dealing with fossils for the purpose of solving geoscientific problems: Fossils provide information about the age of sedimentary rocks (biostratigraphy) or their maturity (see for example: conodont alteration index) or formation conditions (biofacial analysis) or are relevant for paleogeographic reconstructions (paleobiogeography) or for paleoclimatic inference. As a matter of fact fossils are useful and paleontology is not the end in itself, no art pour l'art...
...and so forth. Perhaps some of you heard a similar story.
There are some advantages, though, when you are coming from the geological side: You know your rocks and minerals alright. You have learned how to draw maps and what geoinformation is and all those analytical methods for rock samples and how to get a picture of an ancient biotope from sedimentological criteria and how to find the most fossiliferous places and strata.
In my M.Sc. studies of geology/paleontology I was supposed to chose 3 out of 13 electives, including petrology, tectonics/geodynamics, geology of mineral deposits, geochemistry, sedimentology, pedology, hydrogeology, geotechnics, paleontology, mathematical geology/ geoinformatics and mineralogy. I did a bit of everything with the exception of hydrogeology and focussed on all that non-applied basic research stuff, including paleontology and tectonics.
And when the project in Kyrgyzstan started somewhat later than expected I did - not only for reasons of timing - my master thesis on fissures and normal faults in the Ethiopian rift (see here). Over the years I found more and more links between tectonics and paleontology including rather subtle ones. Some posts will help me to keep them in mind.
Landmark Towers at First and Mission Move Forward
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