Difference Between Archaeologist and Paleontologist

Main Difference – Archaeologist vs Paleontologist

The difference between archeologist and paleontologist stems from the difference between archeology and paleontology. Archaeology and paleontology are historical sciences that deal with the past. Archeology is the study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of artifacts whereas paleontology is the scientific study of fossil animals and plants. Thus, the main difference between archaeologist and paleontologist is the fact that archaeologists study human history whereas paleontologists study fossil animals and plants.

This article explains,

1. Who is an Archaeologist? – Definition, Archaeology, Job Role, Required Qualifications

2. Who is a Paleontologist? – Definition, Palentology, Job Role, Required Qualifications

3. What is the difference between Archaeologist and Paleontologist? 

Difference Between Archaeologist and Paleontologist - Comparison Summary

Who is an Archeologist

An archeologist can be defined as a person who studies history and prehistory through the discovery and exploration of artifacts, remains, structures and writings. They examine ancient sites and objects to learn about the history and to record, interpret and preserve them for future generations.

As mentioned before, archaeologists mainly deal with material remains such as artifacts and architectural remnants. Artifacts may include pottery, stone tools, weapons, coins, bones, jewelry, furniture, etc. Through the analysis of these objects, archaeologists reveal important information about ancient civilizations.

There are four main areas of archaeology, and an archaeologist can choose any one of these categories. These four types involve a contract or commercial archaeology, research or academic archaeology, public or community archaeology and specialist archaeology.

A degree in archaeology or related subjects like anthropology, ancient history, conservation or heritage management can be useful to gain entry into the field of archaeology. However, experiences, as well as post graduate qualifications, are required to move to a higher position in the field.

Difference Between Archaeologist and Paleontologist

Who is a Paleontologist

A paleontologist is a person who studies or practices paleontology as a profession. Palaeontology is the study of the forms of life existing in prehistoric or geologic times, as represented by the fossils of plants, animals, and other organisms. Thus, a paleontologist studies fossils in order to discover information about the life forms that existed on earth.

They use fossils to learn what the Earth was like in the past and how environments have changed over time. They also use fossils to learn about evolving diversity. (e.g., when did a new species develop and when did another species go extinct?)

Paleontology is a scientific subject since the fossils are studied and analyzed through scientific techniques. Thus, a paleontologist must have a strong educational background in the natural sciences, with a focus on biology and geology.

Main Difference - Archaeologist vs Paleontologist

Difference Between Archaeologist and Paleontologist


Archaeologist studies archeology.

Paleontologist studies paleontology.


Archaeologists study the past human lifestyles and cultures.

Paleontologists study the history of life on earth.

Artifacts vs Fossils 

Archaeologists studies artifacts.

Paleontologist studies fossils.


Archaeologists need education in archeology, anthropology, ancient history, or conservation.

Paleontologists need education in natural sciences, especially in biology and geology.

Image Courtesy: 

“Hazara University archaeologist – Dr. Muhammad Zahir- explaining the eight-sided stupa for a documentary on Buddhism with PTV” By Muhammad Zahir – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

“Joda paleontologist” By NPS –  (web.archive.org) (Public Domain) via Wikimedia  Commons 

About the Author: Hasa

Hasanthi is a seasoned content writer and editor with over 8 years of experience. Armed with a BA degree in English and a knack for digital marketing, she explores her passions for literature, history, culture, and food through her engaging and informative writing.