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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)
[60/78]  GEOLOGY [78/00 - Ord. 2020]  PERCORSO COMUNE 9 88


Educational objectives
The Paleontology Course must provide knowledge of the main paleobiological themes (paleobiodiversity, taphonomy, evolutionary theories, paleoecology, biostratigraphy,….), favoring the fields of greatest interest for geologists and naturalists.
The main objective is to develop in students the skills of learning, critical observation and autonomous judgment on theoretical aspects and above all on the finds, images and on the ground, to relocate the information provided by the remains of fossil organisms in terms of time, environment of life and type of fossilization. Furthermore, the student must be able to communicate the acquired knowledge verbally and in writing.


Basic knowledge of geosciences and the of living organisms, commonly acquired in high school, is essential.


Taphonomy and Fossilization - Fossilized materials. Biostratinomy. Burial. Fossilizzation processes.
Classification - Animal classification. Species concept in palaeontology
The evolutionary process and the Fossil record - Main evolutionary theories. Microevolution and macroevolution.
Life on the Earth planet - Palaeontological documentation of early life. Procariotes and eucariotes. Stromatolites. Pluricellularity. Vendian animals. Biomineralization. The Cambrian radiation. Major events in the history of life. Biological crises and radiation.
Fossils and palaeoenvironments - Palaeontology, palaeoecology and ecology. Evolution of reefs from Cambrian to present.
Trace fossils - Preservation of trace fossils. Classification of trace fossils. Palaeobiological and palaeoenvironmental implications.
Fossils and stratigraphy - Definitions. Lithostratigraphy, biostratigraphy and cronostratigraphy. Stratigraphic correlation. Biozones and biozonation schemes.
Palaeobiogeography - Definitions. Dispersion and diffusion patterns. Biogeographycal regions. Fossils and plate tectonics.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Methods
Lectures, group exercises in the laboratory; day excursions on the ground.
Lessons and workshops can be given electronically using the most common platforms used in UniCa (Adobe Connect, Teams). Ten fossils, included in the UNICA @ HOME Kit, will supplied in order to draw up cards that will form part of the exam.

Verification of learning

Learning assessment procedures
final oral and practical exam, with attribution of grade.
The exam includes:
- recognition and accurate description of fossils,
- the discussion on the main characteristics of the various groups of organisms studied during the course and their applications;
- questions on general paleontology.
During the "Blended" period, the electronic exam test consists of:
(1) in the compilation of a questionnaire, specific for each candidate and sent via TEAMS, which includes four fields: A) General paleontology, B) Micropaleontology, C) Systematics of invertebrates and D) which includes one or more questions, possibly already accompanied from diagrams and/or images. (available time: 3 hours).
(2) Discussion via TEAMS of the questionnaire (weight 10/30), verification of the cards prepared on the samples of the UNICA @ Home kit (weight 10/30) and insights into the whole program (weight 10/30).
(3) Acceptance of the exam grade, expressed out of thirty, is immediate and confirmed by email to the teacher.
The "blended" mode, with a questionnaire with images and/or findings to be analyzed and described, will also be extended in the case of face-to-face examinations.


General Palaeontology:
Manuale di Paleontologia Fondamenti – Applicazioni (2020)
Autori Vari, by Società Paleontologica Italiana, Edizioni Idelson-Gnocchi

Raffi S. & Serpagli E. – Introduzione alla paleontologia - UTET
Briggs D.E.G. & Crowther P.R. – Palaeobiology - Blackwell

Systematic Palaeontology:
Manuale di Paleontologia Fondamenti – Applicazioni (2020)
Autori Vari, by Società Paleontologica Italiana, Edizioni Idelson-Gnocchi

A. Allasinaz, 1999: Paleontologia degli invertebrati. UTET, Scienze della Terra.

Martinez Chacon M.L. & Rivas P. – Paleontologia de invertebrados – Societad Espanola de Paleontologia
Armstrong H.A. & Brasier M.D. – Microfossils – Blackwell

Complementary readings:
M.J. Benton, 2000: Paleontologia dei Vertebrati. Franco Lucisano (ed.).
D.E.G. Briggs, P.R. Crowther (eds), 1990: Palaeobiology a synthesis. Blackwell Scientific Publications.
R.S Boardman, A.H. Cheetham & A.J. Rowell (eds.), 1987: Fossil Invertebrates. Blackwell Scientific Publications.
E.N.K. Clarkson, 1993: Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution. Chapman & Hall (third edition).

More Information

Other Information
1) An educational collection of fossils is available to students at Block A.
2) A kit consisting of 10 items to be studied at home is available and will be returned immediately after the examination has been completed. For each exhibit, the student must prepare descriptive cards accompanied by photographs. The paper must be delivered at least one week before the exam.
3) Recommended texts are available in the library and some PDF versions will be provided.
4) Attendance is recommended, as established by the Degree Course Council.
5) The slides of the lectures and workshops, in PDF and / or PPT format, texts and articles of interest and various links are available on TEAMS, in the PALEONTOLOGY - SC GEOLOGICAL COURSE group

This is instead the link Team PALEONTOLOGY EXAMINATION 97d3-97fd6e0edee1

6) Our University provides support to students with specific learning disabilities (SLD).
7) Working students (part-time students) are invited to arrange personalized activities with the teacher to compensate for absences from lessons caused by work commitments.
8) Teaching will be delivered mainly face to face, integrated and "augmented" with online strategies, in order to guarantee its use in an innovative and inclusive way.

Questionnaire and social

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