First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Science
Course unit
SC02119879, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2017/18

Information on the course unit
Degree course First cycle degree in
SC1165, Degree course structure A.Y. 2008/09, A.Y. 2019/20
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Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination VERTEBRATE EVOLUTION
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 FRANCESCA CIMA BIO/06

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Educational activities in elective or integrative disciplines BIO/06 Comparative Anatomy and Citology 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 3rd Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Laboratory 1.0 16 9.0 No turn
Lecture 5.0 40 85.0 No turn

Start of activities 30/09/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2008 course timetable

Examination board
Board From To Members of the board
8 STORIA EVOLUTIVA DEI VERTEBRATI 2019-2020 01/10/2019 27/11/2020 CIMA FRANCESCA (Presidente)
BALLARIN LORIANO (Membro Effettivo)
MANNI LUCIA (Supplente)
7 STORIA EVOLUTIVA DEI VERTEBRATI 2018-2019 01/10/2018 30/11/2019 CIMA FRANCESCA (Presidente)
BALLARIN LORIANO (Membro Effettivo)
MANNI LUCIA (Supplente)

Prerequisites: The course requires knowledge of “Zoology” and “Comparative Anatomy”.
Target skills and knowledge: The innovative approach to the evolutionary history of vertebrates is based on modern hypotheses about the origin of the major taxa and the emergence of evolutionary novelties through a synthesis of both paleontological and biomolecular evidences from various scientific branches.
The acquisition of an interdisciplinary outlook of the life on earth and a critical approach to scientific discoveries and hypotheses are today of primary importance in the cultural formation of biologists and naturalists. This course is part of a training program to form professionals in wildlife research and in teaching and dissemination in the context of vertebrates by completing the acquisition of essential skills in the field of their biodiversity, adaptations, ecology, and evolution.
Examination methods: Oral exam. Discussion on a topic chosen by the student and questions about various topics of the program.
Assessment criteria: Knowledge of the topics covered. Personal analysis skill and reworking the criticism.
Course unit contents: A brief introduction on basal models and mechanisms of evolution and fundamental principles of the developmental biology. Origin of Chordates: the most known hypotheses, paleontological evidence, molecular data. The non-vertebrate to vertebrate Chordata transition: neomorphisms linked to the alimentary change form microphagy to predation, theories on vertebrate origin, main sister groups, Mallatt’s model. The first vertebrates: ostracoderms and the problem of the modern cyclostomes. The origin of gnathostomes: evolution of jaws and paired appendages. Devonian, the age of fish: placoderms, acanthodes. chondroichthyes, osteichthyes; successful adaptations of teleosts. Origin of tetrapods during Carboniferous, the age of amphibians: limb evolution, main anatomical and physiological adaptations to the subaerial environment, transitional species, first true amphibians and their evolutionary radiation. Origin and radiation of reptiles: neomorphisms linked to the successful adaptations of this group during Mesozoic; main evolutionary pathways and extinctions. From dinosaurs to birds: avian dinosaurs, ancestral birds, modern birds. Synapsids and the origin of mammals, their Cenozoic radiation, successful adaptations of eutherians. Examples of evolutionary series of eutherians: horse, proboscidean and cetacean evolution. Hominization: main steps of the complex man evolution and comparison between fossils and genomic data.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: Lectures and practical exercises with specimens of current and extinct vertebrates. The educational material includes books, lecture notes, descriptive cards, scientific papers for critical reading, links to websites and videos. Visit to the vertebrate collection of the Museum of Palaeontology at the University of Padova.
Additional notes about suggested reading: The study materials used by the teacher (lecture notes, articles, movies) are available in the e-learning platform.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)
  • Cowen R., History of life.. --: Wiley-Blackwell, --. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Benton MJ., Vertebrate palaeontology.. --: Wiley-Blackwell, --. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Pough HF., Zoologia dei vertebrati.. Rozzano (MI): Ambrosiana (Zanichelli), --. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Liem KF et al.,, Anatomia comparata dei vertebrati.. Napoli: EdiSES, --. Cerca nel catalogo
  • Stingo et al.,, Anatomia comparata.. --: Edi-Ermes, --. Cerca nel catalogo

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Laboratory
  • Story telling
  • Use of online videos
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Life Below Water Life on Land