Paleontology (/ˌpeɪliɒnˈtɒlədʒi,ˌpæli-,-ən-/), also spelled palaeontology or palæontology, is the scientific study of life that existed prior to, and sometimes including, the start of the Holoceneepoch (roughly 11,700 years before present). It includes the study of fossils to classify organisms and study their interactions with each other and their environments (their paleoecology). Paleontological observations have been documented as far back as the 5th century BC. The science became established in the 18th century as a result of Georges Cuvier's work on comparative anatomy, and developed rapidly in the 19th century. The term itself originates from Greekπαλαιός ('palaios', "old, ancient"), ὄν ('on', (gen.'ontos'), "being, creature"), and λόγος ('logos', "speech, thought, study").
Paleontology lies on the border between biology and geology, but differs from archaeology in that it excludes the study of anatomically modern humans. It now uses techniques drawn from a wide range of sciences, including biochemistry, mathematics, and engineering. Use of all these techniques has enabled paleontologists to discover much of the evolutionary history of life, almost all the way back to when Earth became capable of supporting life, nearly 4 billion years ago. As knowledge has increased, paleontology has developed specialised sub-divisions, some of which focus on different types of fossil organisms while others study ecology and environmental history, such as ancient climates. (Full article...)
The monkey lemurs are considered to be most closely related to the living indriids and the recently extinct sloth lemurs, although recent finds had caused some dispute over a possible closer relation to living lemurids. Genetic tests, however, have reaffirmed the previously presumed relationship. Hadropithecus lived in open habitat in the Central Plateau, South, and Southwest regions of Madagascar. It is known only from subfossil or recent remains and is considered to be a modern form of Malagasy lemur. It died out around 444–772 CE, shortly after the arrival of humans on the island. (see more...)