also palaeontology, "the science of the former life of the Earth, as preserved in fossils," 1833, probably from French paléontologie, from Greek palaios "old, ancient" (see paleo-) + ontologie "science or study of being and the essence of things" (see ontology). Related: Paleontological.
word-forming element meaning "one who does or makes," also used to indicate adherence to a certain doctrine or custom, from French -iste and directly from Latin -ista (source also of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian -ista), from Greek agent-noun ending -istes, which is from -is-, ending of the stem of verbs in -izein, + agential suffix -tes.
Variant -ister (as in chorister, barrister) is from Old French -istre, on false analogy of ministre. Variant -ista is from Spanish, popularized in American English 1970s by names of Latin-American revolutionary movements.
<a href="https://www.etymonline.com/word/paleontologist">Etymology of paleontologist by etymonline</a>
Harper, D. (n.d.). Etymology of paleontologist. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved $(datetime), from https://www.etymonline.com/word/paleontologist