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Paleontology and Paleobiology

To understand the present and predict the future we need to learn from the past. Ancient tree fossils from a higher-carbon period millions of years ago may help Smithsonian scientists predict how forests will respond to future climates. Similarly, the remains of corals, sponges, snails and sharks just a few thousand or hundred years old can help reconstruct what tropical reef ecosystems were like before humans — and perhaps aid the conservation of these radically altered these ecosystems.

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