A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
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

Lesson period
First semester
The following changes will be made due to the contingent situation of health emergency conditions.
Teaching methods:
Asynchronous lessons (videolessons recorded by the professor with audio commentary) will be made available, organized to cover the topics of each week according to the established timetable.
Some of the lessons will be used as a moment of revision and deepening of what is proposed in the asynchronous lessons, and will be carried out using the Microsoft Teams platform with registration, to allow them to be used both in synchronous mode and in asynchronous mode.
The practicals will be organized in shifts (about 2 shifts of 4 hours each for each group of students) with small groups.
All the videolessons, the pdf of the slides and notices relating to any update related to the evolution of the legislation imposed by Covid-19, will be timely published on the Ariel website of the course.

The program and reference material will not change.

Learning assessment procedures and criteria:
The exam will be held orally using the Microsoft Teams platform.
Forse cercavi: Le prove relative alle tre parti di corso (tassonomia, invertebrati, vertebrati) verranno svolte separatamente.
The tests relating to the three parts of the course (taphonomy, invertebrates, vertebrates) will be carried out separately. The exam, in particular, will be aimed at ascertaining the achievement of objectives in terms of knowledge and understanding, ascertaining the ability to apply knowledge and understanding through the discussion of the topics presented in class; ascertain the mastery of the specific language concerning paleontology and the ability to present the arguments in a clear and orderly way.
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
Teaching methods
Lessons and practicals
Teaching Resources
Società Paleontologica Italiana MANUALE di PALEONTOLOGIA FONDAMENTI - APPLICAZIONI, maggio 2020 - ISBN: 9788879477147

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 and videos of fossils.
- 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
parte turno 2, turno 3 e turno 4
Professor: Crippa Gaia
turno 1 e parte del turno 2
Professor: Angiolini Lucia
Educational website(s)