After completion of the course the student should be able to
describe key events in the evolution of life on Earth. In particular the biological and geological setting of the origin of life, the Precambrian evolution of life and the Cambrian explosion
describe fossil representatives in the major groups of unicellular organisms including affinities, ecology and biochronology
describe and evaluate the principal fossil faunas during the Precambrian-Cambrian transition including their distribution in time and space, together with their associated geochemical and tectonic events
appraise and compare the different concepts concerning the early evolution of the major invertebrate phyla
evaluate different techniques for dating the biological and geological events during the Precambrian-Cambrian
collect and evaluate geological and palaeontological data in the field
Theories about the origin of life, environmental evolution and aspects of astrobiology. Origin and diversification of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Palaeobiology and ecology of major groups of unicellular biota (bacteria and protists) and their evolution through time. Application in stratigraphy. The Proterozoic radiations of phytoplankton and heterotrophic protists. The Precambrian-Cambrian transition and the evidence for the origin of animals and nature of the Cambrian explosion. Origins of major vertebrate terrestrial ecosystems.
Lectures, seminars, practicals and field course.
Written examination (12.5 credits). Moreover, the compulsory seminars, practicals and field course must be approved (2.5 credits).
The field course will cause costs for travel and accommodation for the student.
week 25, 2015
Schopf, J. William
Cradle of life : the discovery of earth's earliest fossils
Princeton University Press,