Master’s studies

Syllabus for Principles of Palaeobiology

Paleobiologins grunder


  • 15 credits
  • Course code: 1PA041
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Biology A1N, Earth Science A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), 3, 4, 5
  • Established: 2010-03-18
  • Established by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Revised: 2017-05-09
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 31, 2015
  • Entry requirements: 120 credits with 90 credits in earth science or biology.
  • Responsible department: Department of Earth Sciences

Learning outcomes

After completion of the course the student should be able to

  • discuss the principles of the nature of the fossil record, fossil preservation including exceptional preservation, phylogeny, evolution and classification from a palaeontological perspective
  • identify the major invertebrate fossil groups
  • reconstruct the environment and ecology of selected invertebrate groups both in the laboratory and the field
  • describe and evaluate the ecology of a field collection of fossils including the use of appropriate photographic, preparatory and microscopy techniques
  • assess selected controversies in palaeobiology by reference to the scientific literature


Nature of the fossil record. Principles of palaeobiology and evolution. Classification and phylogeny. Evolution and the fossil record. Palaeoecology. Current topics in palaeobiology. Practical work with fossils.


Lectures, seminars, practicals and field course.


Written examination (7.5 credits). Practicals and field course (2.5 credits), active participation in seminars (2.5 credits), written essay (2.5 credits).

Other directives

The field course will cause costs for travel and accommodation for the student.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 31, 2015

  • Brenchley, Patrick J.; Harper, David A. T. Palaeoecology : ecosystems, environments and evolution

    London: Chapman & Hall, 1998

    Find in the library

  • Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution


    Find in the library

  • Foote, Michael; Miller, Arnold I. Principles of paleontology

    3. ed.: New York: W.H. Freeman, cop. 2007

    Find in the library

  • Crowther, Peter R. Briggs, Derek E. G. Palaeobiology II

    Oxford: Blackwell, 2003

    Or Palaeontology - a synthesis:

    Find in the library

  • Systematics and the fossil record : documenting evolutionary patterns

    John Wiley & Sons,

    Find in the library