Università degli studi dell'Insubria

PALEONTOLOGY

Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL SCIENCES
Academyc year when starting the degree: 
2013/2014
Year: 
3
Academyc year when helding the course: 
2015/2016
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
Credits: 
9
Period: 
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
72
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (64 hours), Exercise (8 hours)
Requirements: 

Preferable , but not mandatory , having attended a Paleontology taching duirng bachelor course. Not necessary because in the first lessons the main concepts are repeated. Basic knowledge of Zoology, Botany and Geology

Assessment: 
Voto Finale

Aims and learning outcomes

Knowledge of: the aspects of fossils that make them ecological markers; how the reconstruction of life habits of ancient organisms, along with sedimentological and paleobiogeographic data can document the evolution of biodiversity, selective pressures that led to biotic successions. The latter represnts the basis for the elaboration of interpretative models to explain the great biological crisis like mass extinctions.
Ability to interpret an orictocoenosis (fossil equivalent of biocoenosis) delieating with the help of sedimentological data , a general frame of the environment in which lived the fossilized organisms and of the causes that allowed their preservation.

Evaluation
Final test with 2-3 questions two on the section about paleoecology/successions/models ed one about Lagerstaetten, aimed to check the knowledge of contents and the understanding of the processes involved in the events studied. Evaluation by attribution of a final grade.

- Introduction Fossil formation. Exceptionalpreservation deposits (fossil Lagertstaetten) definition and classification (concentration, conservation depostis, etc.); excavation methods (in rocks, in inconsolidated sediment) e preparation.
- Introduction to Paleoecology Fossils as environmental indicators: Examples; Evidences of diet, Plants as paleoenvironmental, Fossil traces, significance and classification, Brackish and oxygen depleted environments. Reefs, structure and importance as environmental/Paleoenvironmental indicators
Functional morphology as a clue for paleoenvironment recostruction
- Environmental successions in the past; Evolution of plant communities, Evolution of Triassic faunas, Evolution of mammal faunas during Late Tertiary del Terziario superiore; faunal interchanges, exctinction of the megafauna.
- Interpretative models Great biological crisis, cause ed effetti; coadaptation and relationships/coevolution organisms-habitat (models compared).
- Main Lagerstaetten paleoenvironment and depositional environment Burgess, Chenjiang, Sirius Passet ed Orsten; Monte San Giorgio; Calcare di Zorzino; Solnhofen; Holzmaden;Santana Formation, Karoo, Liaoning, Messel, Morrison, Guizhou, Mongolia, Libano, Ischigualasto, Osteno.

Slides available to the student (on teacher personal website docente), Serpagli Raffi Introduzione alla Paleontologia UTET 2003.