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

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle

    • G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    • G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    • G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    • GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

    Second cycle

    • A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    • A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    • A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    • AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2010-03-18
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2018-08-30
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: Autumn 2019
  • Entry requirements:

    120 credits with 90 credits in earth science or biology. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

  • Responsible department: Department of Earth Sciences

Learning outcomes

On 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).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Other directives

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

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Autumn 2019

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • 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