palae(o)- In the US pale(o)-.
[Greek palaios, ancient.]
The names of several divisions of geological time contain this form, such as the Palaeozoic (Greek zōē, life), the era between the Precambrian aeon and the Mesozoic era, and the Palaeolithic (Greek lithos, stone), the early phase of the Stone Age, lasting about 2.5 million years.
It is also widely used to generate names of scientific disciplines that deal with such periods, as in palaeontology (Greek onta, beings), that concerned with fossil animals and plants, palaeoanthropology, the branch of anthropology concerned with fossil hominids, palaeoclimatology, the study of climates prevalent at a particular time in the geological past, and palaeomagnetism, the branch of geophysics concerned with the magnetism in rocks that was induced by the earth's magnetic field at the time of their formation; other examples are palaeobiology, palaeobotany, palaeoecology, and palaeogeography.
Other examples: the Palaearctic is a region comprising parts of Europe and Asia, the northern region of the ‘Old World’; Palaeo-Indian denotes the earliest human inhabitants of the Americas, to c.5000 BC.