1 x 1-hour lecture weekly
1 x 2-hour workshop per semester
5 x 4-hour practicals per semester
1 x 56-hour field trip per semester
1 x 49-hour project work per semester
1 BIOL2706 - Vertebrate Anatomy and Evolution
2 18 Units in ARCH, BIOL, CHEM, EASC or ENVS topics
Must Satisfy: ((1) or (2))
Enrolment not permitted
BIOL8703 has been successfully completed
4 x Practical report

4 x Workshop

Field notebook

Research project (1500 words UG, 2000 words PG)
Topic description

Students will learn about the half-billion-year history of vertebrates as deduced from the fossil record. The topic reviews the major patterns of vertebrate evolution and processes that have shaped them, particularly in Australia. It also includes a one-week field trip (in the mid-semester break) where students will get on site experience in fossil excavation, sieving, logging a geological section, dating methods and field trip logistics.

Educational aims

This topic aims to develop an understanding of the concepts and methods used by palaeontologists to reconstruct the history of life on earth and in the process provide students with an overview of the evolution and radiation of the Australian vertebrate fauna.

Expected learning outcomes
On completion of this topic you will be expected to be able to:

  1. Locate, excavate, consolidate and retrieve vertebrate fossils
  2. Apply taphonomic, stratigraphic and palaeoecological principles to interpretation of a fossil deposit
  3. Construct and analyse patterns within a phylogenetic tree based on morphological characters
  4. Have some understanding of key evolutionary transitions in vertebrates, including the transition to life on land and mammal diversification
  5. Critically analyse the literature in a specific area of palaeontology

Key dates and timetable

(1), (2)

Each class is numbered in brackets.
Where more than one class is offered, students normally attend only one.

Classes are held weekly unless otherwise indicated.


If you are enrolled for this topic, but all classes for one of the activities (eg tutorials) are full,
contact your College Office for assistance. Full classes frequently occur near the start of semester.

Students may still enrol in topics with full classes as more places will be made available as needed.

If this padlock appears next to an activity name (eg Lecture), then class registration is closed for this activity.

Class registration normally closes at the end of week 2 of each semester.

Classes in a stream are grouped so that the same students attend all classes in that stream.
Registration in the stream will result in registration in all classes.
  Unless otherwise advised, classes are not held during semester breaks or on public holidays.