Paleontology is a science. It deals with ancient, extinct plants and animals. In the word is the ancient Greek "palaios", which means "old". An example of extinct animals are the dinosaurs.
Paleontologists want to find out how animals and plants lived many thousands or millions of years ago. They also want to find out how they are related to today's living creatures. In this way, one also learns something about the age of the earth layer in which they were found.
Even in ancient times, people wondered about fossilized bones or plants, the fossils. Around the year 1800, the science of paleontology was born. Georges Cuvier from France had compared fossils with each other. He also found out that some fossil animals do not resemble animals of today: animals can therefore become extinct.