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 contents summary
General Paleontology: The scientific method. Fields of investigation of Paleontology. Taphonomy, ichnology. Rules of Zoological Nomenclature. Classification, taxonomy and systematics. Evolution (theories, processes, speciation and extinctions). Basic principles of biostratigraphy, geochronology and chronostratigraphy. palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography.
TaxonomicPaleontology: morphology, classification, stratigraphy and ecological significance of the main phyla of marine invertebrates: Porifera, Archaeocyatha, Cnidaria, Arthropoda (classes Trilobita and Crustacea), Mollusca, Brachiopoda, Bryozoa, Echinodermata, Hemichordata (class Graptolithina)
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
Frontal lectures and practical lessons in classroom
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)
During the course, intermediate tests on the taxonomic paleontology will be planned. If passed, the oral exam will only focus on the general paleontology