A person who studies dinosaurs is known as a paleontologist. A paleontologist uses fossil records, which are traces of organisms in the Earth's crust, to study life that lived in the past. Using fossils, paleontologists form theories about the Earth's history, the organism's identity and its previous living environment.
Paleontologists study a variety of organisms in addition to dinosaurs, including fish, plants and mammals. Paleontology is divided into two disciplines: invertebrate and vertebrate. Invertebrate paleontology is concerned with studying animals without backbones. Vertebrate paleontology is concerned with studying animals with backbones. Paleontology combines many sciences, including biology, chemistry, geology and physics.