Paleontology

A.Y. 2019/2020
6
Max ECTS
52
Overall hours
SSD
GEO/01
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
Recognize and understand the processes leading to the production of the fossil record and appreciate its importance as evidence for biological evolution. Encourage learning about the main groups of vertebrates and invertebrates commonly used in paleontology, also considering dissemination as possible goal.
Expected learning outcomes
Capacity to recognize the transition of organic remains from the biosphere to the lithosphere. Acquisition of expertise about the main groups of animals (vertebrates and invertebrates), whose fossil record contributes to the knowledge about biological evolution.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Responsible
Lesson period
First semester
Course syllabus
The course is organized into three parts:
A) Taphonomy: from the biosphere to the lithosphere.
Introduction to Palaeontology and its applications.
The species in Palaeontology: definition and problems.
Biostratinomy: from the identification of the causes of death to the burial of a body through the physio-chemical and bio-chemical processes that may change its morphology and disposition in the sediment. Decomposition, disarticulation, transport, bioerosion, predation, dissolution, carbonatization..
Spatial relationships fossil/rock as indicators of autochthony vs. allocthony and of the depositional and burial environments.
Fossilization s.s. (diagenesis): description of the physical and chemical processes that may change the composition and structure of the organic remains. Soft tissue diagenesis. Formation of minerals associated to soft parts. Preservation/alteration of biominerals.
Types of fossils. Fossil-Lagerstätten.
The Trace fossils: systematics and significance.
B) Fossil Invertebrates.
Description of the main features of the principal invertebrate fossil groups: cnidarians, brachiopods, bivalves, cephalopods, echinoderms, and trilobites based on theoretical lessons and practical training. Their significance in the Earth Sciences context.
C) Fossil Vertebrates
The first vertebrates: Agnatha.
Fishes. Origin of placoderms, acanthodians, chondrichthyes, attinopterygii, sarcopterygii. Attinopterygii: radiation of teleosts in the Cenozoic.
Fundamental plan of the tetrapod skeleton.
Amphibians. Land colonization: structural problems. The 'primitive' amphibians, the origin of 'modern' amphibians, from amphibians to reptiles.
Amniotes (Reptiles, Birds, Mammals): definition and relationships.
General skeletal characters of the Reptiles, temporal windows and classification.
Paleozoic anapsids.
Primitive diapsids, lepidosauromorphs and lepidosaurs, archosuromorphs and arsouriurs.
The origin of the birds.
From synapsids to mammals, pelicosaurs, terapsids, cinodontes, paleobiological implications
Prerequisites for admission
None
Teaching methods
lessons and practicals
Teaching Resources
Società Paleontologica Italiana MANUALE di PALEONTOLOGIA FONDAMENTI - APPLICAZIONI, maggio 2020 - ISBN: 9788879477147

Raffi & Serpagli, INTRODUZIONE ALLA PALEONTOLOGIA, UTET, TORINO
Benton, PALEONTOLOGIA DEI VERTEBRATI, Franco Lucisano, Libreria dello studente, Milano
Slides on Ariel

- Photoes of the fossils exposed in Aula Stoppani, DST and published on Ariel
- Museum and scientific institutions websites
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam comprises 3 written texts:
taphonomy, one open question, 1 hour
vertebrate palaeontology, one open question, 1 hour
invertebrate palaeontology, two specimens to be described and identified, one open question, 1,5 hour.

Evaluation parameters: understanding, correctness, appropriateness of the
language, ability to apply the acquired knowledge on taphoniìomy, invertebrate palaeontology, vertebrate palaeontology..
Type of evaluation: mark out of thirty.

Results will be available on SIFA.
GEO/01 - PALEONTOLOGY AND PALEOECOLOGY - University credits: 6
Practicals with elements of theory: 12 hours
Lessons: 40 hours
Shifts:
parte di turno 2, turno 3, turno 4
Professor: Crippa Gaia
turno 1, parte di turno 2
Professor: Angiolini Lucia
Professor(s)
Reception:
Monday 14.30
Department of Earth Sciences "Ardito Desio" or by email.