First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SC10106427, A.A. 2017/18

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2016/17

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
SC1161, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2017/18
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 8.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination PALAEONTOLOGY
Website of the academic structure
Department of reference Department of Biology
E-Learning website
Mandatory attendance
Language of instruction Italian
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge ELIANA FORNACIARI GEO/01
Other lecturers LUCA CAPRARO GEO/01

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses GEO/01 Palaeontology and Palaeoecology 8.0

Course unit organization
Period Second semester
Year 2nd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Group didactic activities 0.0 24 0.0 3
Laboratory 2.25 36 20.25 2
Lecture 5.75 46 97.75 No turn

Start of activities 26/02/2018
End of activities 01/06/2018
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2008 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
8 PALEONTOLOGIA 2019-2020 01/10/2019 27/11/2020 FORNACIARI ELIANA (Presidente)
GIUSBERTI LUCA (Membro Effettivo)
CAPRARO LUCA (Supplente)
7 PALEONOTOLOGIA 2018-2019 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 FORNACIARI ELIANA (Presidente)
GIUSBERTI LUCA (Membro Effettivo)
CAPRARO LUCA (Supplente)
6 PALEONTOLOGIA 2017-2018 01/10/2017 25/11/2018 FORNACIARI ELIANA (Presidente)
GIUSBERTI LUCA (Membro Effettivo)
CAPRARO LUCA (Supplente)
5 PALEONTOLOGIA 2016-2017 01/10/2016 30/11/2017 FORNACIARI ELIANA (Presidente)
GIUSBERTI LUCA (Membro Effettivo)
CAPRARO LUCA (Supplente)

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of Geology. In addition it would be advantageous to have some background knowledge of Chemistry, Mineralogy and Zoology
Target skills and knowledge: The course intend to provide at the student an overview on principles and paradigms of the Paleontology. The course will be focused on the relationship between Evolution and fossil record and on the significance of fossils in stratigraphic record and in the paleoenvironmental reconstructions. Finally, it will be provided an overview of the key events of the history of life on the Earth.
Course unit contents: - Introduction to Paleontology: What is a Fossil?; History and applications of Paleontology
- The deep Time: From Steno to Lyell the Relative Geological Time Scale; from James Ussher to Clair C. Patterson the “Absolute” Time
- How do fossils form?: Biostratinomy and taphonomy
- Systematics: introduction to classification and taxonomy and competing systematic philosophies
- Species and speciation: what is a species and how does a paleontologist identify them
- Evolution: fossils and evolution from Lamarck to Darwin; the Neo-Darwian Synthesis and Punctuated Equilibrium: patterns from the fossil record; Microevolution; Macroevolution and the tree of life
- The legacy of the fossil record: background extinctions and mass extinctions
- Biostratigraphy: fossils in the space and time
- Ecology and paleoecology of marine realm: classification of marine environments; trophic strategy and mode of life of organisms; environmental and limiting factors; introduction to classification of marine environments
- History of life: Precambrian, the “hidden life”: from the origin of life to multicellularity; Precambrian, the “strange life”: the ediacarian biota; the cambrian explosion; Paleozoic: from the ordovician radiation to the age of fishes (Devonian); Paleozoic: from the origin and early radiation of terrestrial vertebrates (Carboniferous) to the mother of mass extinctions (End-Permian mass extinction).
- Systematics. During the labs will be introduced the main groups of marine invertebrate animals: Sponges, stromatoporids, Archaeocyathans, Cnidarians (Corals), Brachiopods, Molluscs (Scaphopods, Bivalves, Gastropods, Cephalopods), Echinoderms (Crinoids and Echinoids), Arthropods (Trilobites), Hemichordates (Graptolites)
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lectures with power point slides.
Laboratories: Recognize and identify of
two field trips

The labs will focus on marine invertebrate fossils.
Each lab will begin with a brief review of the anatomy and taxonomy of the fossil group to be studied.
Additional notes about suggested reading: PowerPoint presentations and PDF in digital form on e-learning site
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Prothero DR, Bringing Fossil to Life: An Introduction to Paleobiology. --: McGraw-Hill, 2004. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Benton M.J. and Harper D.A.T, Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record. --: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Raffi S. e Serpagli E., Introduzione alla Paleontologia. --: UTET, 1993. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Lieberman B.S. and Kaesler R., Prehistoric Life Evolution and the Fossil Record. --: Wiley-Blackwell, 2010. Cerca nel catalogo