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EA5120 - The Fossil Record: Dinosaurs and Vertebrates Through Time

Credit points: 3
Year: 2023
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: College of Science and Engineering

This subject will offer an extended introduction to the fossil record in relation to biosphere evolution through deep time and change in past environments with an outline of how fossils are used to interpret the history of life and Earth. The subject concentrates on fossil vertebrates and includes treatment of completeness of the fossil record, palaeo-environmental and palaeobiological interpretation of fossil remains, and broad scale evolutionary and extinction patterns through time and their interpretation. An introduction to stratigraphy provides a conceptual framework for evaluation of sequence in sedimentary rock systems, based on their layered properties and fossil contents and the interpretation of stratigraphic patterns in terms of past environments.

Learning Outcomes

  • Provide a conceptual framework for the evaluation of biosphere patterns through deep time, based on the fossil record;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of evolution and ecology through deep time;
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding regarding the interpretation of fossils preserved in sedimentary rock systems as broad scale indicators of past environmental succession;
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding regarding the interpretation of common fossil categories and assemblages as indicators of past biological systems and of episodes in Earth history.

Subject Assessment

  • Written > Examination (centrally administered) - (40%) - Individual
  • Written > Test/Quiz 1 - (20%) - Individual
  • Oral > Presentation 1 - (10%) - Individual
  • Written > Abstract - (30%) - Individual.


Townsville, Study Period 2, Internal
Census Date 24-Aug-2023
Coordinator: Dr Espen Knutsen
Lecturers: Professor Eric Roberts, Dr Espen Knutsen.
Workload expectations:

The student workload for this 3 credit point subject is approximately 130 hours.

  • 22 hours lectures
  • 19 hours workshops
  • 3 days fieldwork
  • assessment and self-directed study

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.