PALEONTOLOGY

PALEONTOLOGY

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Last update 09/05/2021 11:13
Code
64866
ACADEMIC YEAR
2021/2022
CREDITS
9 credits during the 1st year of 8763 Earth Sciences (L-34) GENOVA

6 credits during the 3nd year of 9916 ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL SCIENCES (L-32) GENOVA

SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR
GEO/01
LANGUAGE
Italian
TEACHING LOCATION
GENOVA (Earth Sciences)
semester
Annual
Prerequisites
Teaching materials

OVERVIEW

Palaeontology deals with the study of fossils, which are defined as rests of ancient life on earth. Fossils allow evolutionary studies as well as paleoenvironmental reconstructions, from primordial traces of life up to the most modern communities. fossils are routinely used to date sediments as well.

 

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Basic knowledge acquisition to identify fossils and their preservation pathways. Recognition of the morphological characters to identify most invertebrates, plants and microorganisms. Correlation between evolutionary trends and paleoclimatic variations during geological time.

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

Common aims for students of both Geological Sciences and Natural Sciences:

Students will be able to observed and describe the morhology of a large variety of fossils including micro- macro- and ichnofossils. Aquiring proper terminology is a key factor and mandatory in this module. After the morhological description, the students will learn how to classify each single specimen into the taxonomical clusters discussed during both classes and practicals.

Students will be required to correlate fossils with age and environment and be confortable in discussing various aspects of the chronostratigraphic chart.

For students from Geological sciences needs to be added also:

the ability to reconstruct and discuss the phanerozoic paleogeography using studied taxa to reconstruct palaeobiogeographical maps.

during the module, the student will have the chance to grown some specific soft skills such as team working and critical thinking.

Teaching methods

frontal teaching classes, practicals, tutorials and field activity

for the first semester, classes will be possibly done face to face, including the opportunity to participare online with bleded didactic. practcals and tutorials will be done possibly face to face in large rooms or with shuffling of groups.

all activities will be held based on the government regulations.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

For students of both Geological Sciences and Natural Sciences

the module is divided into two major blocks, the first one more general on the basic concepts of paleontology and its main applications, the second one is mostly on systematics.

the first block comprehends the following topics

Fossilization and taphonomy: we will encompass the definition of fossils and we will amply discuss systematics and classification techniques. we will have a focused knowledge on fossilization processes and biostratinomy. there will be large spece for practicals and tutorials where students can have hands-on experience with a large variety of fossils specimens.

 PALAEOECOLOGY and biostratigraphy: we will learn how to correlate fossils with age and environment to be able to reconstruvt the palaeoecology of a community in space and time

the second block will comprehend the following topics:

morphology, stratigraphy and evolution of:

archae and bacteria (stromatolithes);

algae (red and green);

protists (dinoflagellates, silicoflagellates, diatoms, radiolarians, foraminifera, coccolitophorids, ciliates);

invertebrtes (porifera, corals, lophophorates, molluscs, hemichordates, echonoderms, arthropods);

paleoichnology (ethological classification and ichnofacies)

one day of field work

for students from Geological sciences the followings are to be added

Evolution and biostratigraphic relevance of all studied groups. palaeogeographic maps from the precambrian to the holocene.

one day of field activities: recognizion of fossils and traces along sedimentary deposits in the surrounding region of Genoa.

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

Allasinaz A. – Paleontologia generale e sistematica degli invertebrati – ECIG
- Benton & Harper: Paleobiology and the fossil record

- Raffi S. & Serpagli E. – Introduzione alla paleontologia – UTET

- Manuale di paleontologia - IdelsonGnocchi editore.

pdfs will be available from AulaWeb.

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

LESSONS

Teaching methods

frontal teaching classes, practicals, tutorials and field activity

for the first semester, classes will be possibly done face to face, including the opportunity to participare online with bleded didactic. practcals and tutorials will be done possibly face to face in large rooms or with shuffling of groups.

all activities will be held based on the government regulations.

LESSONS START

Classes will start on the 21 Settembre 2020. pleae check https://easyacademy.unige.it/portalestudenti/

EXAMS

Exam description

oral examination

Each student will start by identifying fossil community, age and depositional environment on a thin section using a microscope.

After this, each student will get more samples amon those studied during practicals and will discuss its morphology, taxonomy and stratigraphy. More question on the introductory parts can be expected.

For geological science studets, the palaeogeographic knowledge is required.

Assessment methods

during the examination the student will recognize and discuss several samples of fossils including plants, ichnofossils and metazoans. the students will describe their morphology their palaeoecology and will try to give an age estimation. the exam will evaluate the capacity and capability of describing fossils, identifying them and discussing their palaeoecological significance.

FURTHER INFORMATION

although attending the module is not mandatory, it is very important to join both classes and practical activity as they are a keystone to sucsefully pass the examination.

proper attire is mandatory to join practical activities.