cod. 16578

Academic year 2020/21
1° year of course - Second semester
Academic discipline
Paleontologia e paleoecologia (GEO/01)
Ambito geologico-paleontologico
Type of training activity
96 hours
of face-to-face activities
9 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

By the end of the course, the student is expected to know and understand the basic principles of paleontology and its applications to geological sciences. In particular the student should be able to: know and understand the origin and evolution of the fossil record and its interaction with physical factors; know the stratigraphic and paleoenvironmental distribution of the fossils; apply the knowledge of morphologic and physiologic features of each phylum of marine invertebrates to fossil classification.


- - -

Course unit content

Basic concepts of general paleontology and taxonomy of invertebrates. The scientific method. Fields of investigation and applications of Paleontology in particular in the field of geosciences.

Full programme

General paleontology:
• Introduction to Paleontology and its fields of investigation
• History of Paleontology
• Origin of life and Evolution (theories, processes, speciation and extinctions)
• Tafonomy (PM) and icnology
• Zoological nomenclature rules; Classification, taxonomy and systematics
• Basic concepts of:
- Biostratigraphy, Chronostratigraphy and Geochronology; Paleoecology; Paleobiogeography

Taxonomic paleontology
Morpho-functional anatomy, classification, stratigraphy and ecological significance of the main phyla of invertebrates:
• Porifera
• Archaeocyatha
• Cnidaria
• Arthropoda (Trilobita and Crustacea classes)
• Mollusca
• Brachiopoda
• Bryozoa
• Echinodermata
• Hemichordata (Graptolithina class)


Prothero D.R., 2013. Bringing Fossils to life: an introduction to paleobiology. Columbia University Press
Raffi S., Serpagli E., 1992. Introduzione alla Paleontologia. UTET Ed., Torino.
Allasinaz A., 1999. Invertebrati fossili. UTET Ed., Torino
Milsom C & Rigby S., 2010. Fossil at a glance. Wiley - Blackwell Scientific Publications.
Boardman R.S., Cheetham A.H., Rowell, A.J.L., 1987. Fossil Invertebrates. Blackwell Scient. Public., Oxford-London-Edimburg.
Clarkson E.N.K., 1998. Invertebrate paleontology and evolution. Allen & Unwin

Teaching methods

Frontal lectures and practical lessons in classroom. In case of health emergency, the teaching methods could be modified.
The slides of the lessons will be uploaded weekly on the Elly platform. Online registration at the course is required to download the slides.
The slides are a fundamental part of the teaching material. For students not attending, it is important to check the available teaching materials and guidelines provided by the teachers through Elly.

Assessment methods and criteria

The final evaluation is obtained through an oral exam consisting of questions on the theory (general paleontology) and recognition and classification of invertebrates fossils (taxonomic paleontology). In the case of health emergency the oral examination will be held on line (by Teams).

Other information

During the course, intermediate tests on the recognition and classification of fossils (taxonomic paleontology) may be planned. If passed all successfully, the oral exam will only focus on the general paleontology.
The date and method of carrying out the intermediate tests will be indicated in advance by the teacher through Elly.