Geology for energy resources
Study-unit Code
In all curricula
Marco Cherin
  • Marco Cherin
  • 42 ore - Marco Cherin
Course Regulation
Coorte 2024
Learning activities
Attività formative affini o integrative
Academic discipline
Type of study-unit
Opzionale (Optional)
Type of learning activities
Attività formativa monodisciplinare
Language of instruction
Introduction. Methods of vertebrate paleontology. Evolutionary history of vertebrates and systematic study of the main vertebrate groups in the paleontological record.
Reference texts
reference book:
Benton M.J., 2014. Vertebrate Palaeontology. Fourth Edition. Wiley Blackwell.

other books:
Bertolini B. (a cura di), 2012. Anatomia comparata dei vertebrati. Una visione funzionale ed evolutiva. Edises.
Giavini E., Menegola E., Broccia M.L., Scari G., 2002. Atlante di anatomia macroscopica dei vertebrati. Springer.
Educational objectives
The course aims to provide, as its main objective, theoretical and practical knowledge of the main concepts of vertebrate paleontology.
The main knowledge and skills acquired by the students will be:
- Knowing and reconstructing the main stages of the vertebrate evolution, from the Paleozoic Era to the Present;
- Connecting these evolutionary stages to the main paleogeographic and paleoenvironmental changes characterizing the Earth’s geological history;
- Recognizing the main parts of the vertebrate skeleton and discussing competently useful characters for taxonomic classification of fossils;
- Extrapolating paleoecological, biochronological and taphonomic information from the study of fossil remains of vertebrates;
- Understanding the impact of fossil vertebrates in terms of dissemination and science communication.
In order to understand the issues related to the vertebrate paleontology and to be able to apply the acquired knowledge students must have:
- Essential basic knowledge of the fundamentals of geology;
- Essential basic knowledge of the main issues related to the fossilization processes;
- Basic knowledge of the principles of zoological taxonomy;
- Basic knowledge of the main theories and models of biological evolution;
- Basic knowledge of the principles of biostratigraphy;
- Basic knowledge of skeletal anatomy.
These preconditions are valid for both attending and not attending students.
Teaching methods
The course includes both lectures and practical experiences with osteological and paleontological material. The course is organized in:
- Lectures on all the topics of the program;
- Seminars and workshops (optional);
- Excursions at the end of the course (optional).
Other information
Attendance: Optional but strongly advised.

Location: Palazzo delle Scienze, Dipartimento di Fisica e Geologia, Piazza Università
Learning verification modality
The exam includes an oral discussion. This consists in a discussion lasting about 30 minutes aimed at ascertaining the level of knowledge and the understanding reached by the student about the theoretical contents of the course. Moreover, thanks to the description of fossils, students can demonstrate their ability in applying their knowledge to real cases. The exam will also test the communication skills of the student with proper language.
Extended program
- Elements of vertebrate taphonomy;
- Elements of research, excavation, restoration, preparation and cataloguing of fossil vertebrate finds;
- Phylogeny and evolution.

Evolutionary history of vertebrates.
- Origin of the fishes in the Paleozoic;
- Early tetrapods and amphibians;
- Evolution of the first amniotes;
- Triassic tetrapods;
- Evolution of the fishes after the Devonian;
- The Mesozoic Era: dinosaurs and other vertebrates;
- Birds;
- Mammals.

Methods of vertebrate paleontology.
- Traditional methods: morphology and morphometry;
- Elements of geometric morphometric and morphologic and biometric analysis of digital 3D models.

Vertebrate paleontology: dissemination and museological applications.
Obiettivi Agenda 2030 per lo sviluppo sostenibile
Since the course focuses on the evolutionary history of vertebrates during the Phanerozoic, it provides a lot of "contextual" information on the topic of climate change and the transformations of marine and terrestrial ecosystems in Deep Time.
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