Year
2021
Units
4.5
Contact
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 once-only
1 x 49-hour project work per semester
Prerequisites
1 1 of BIOL2706, BIOL8706
2 18 Units in ARCH, BIOL, CHEM, EASC or ENVS topics
Must Satisfy: ((1) or (2))
Enrolment not permitted
BIOL3703 has been successfully completed
Assessment
4 x Practical report

4 x Workshop

Field notebook

Research project (1500 words UG, 2000 words PG)

Literature Review - NGP
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
  6. Have gained experience in summarising prior research carried out in a field of vertebrate palaeontology in the form of a literature review