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The palaeontology and palaeobiogeographic development of Aotearoa New Zealand is examined through the investigation of selected marine and terrestrial fossil invertebrate and vertebrate groups. The course is recommended for geology majors and those in biological or environmental sciences with an interest in New Zealand's palaeontological history and unique taonga.
This course introduces selected fossil groups relevant to the reconstruction of Aotearoa New Zealand ancient environments and oceanography. The focus is on Aotearoa New Zealand examples and records, and their role in understanding our geological history, as well as understanding of global evolutionary events. The course will include coverage of key marine and terrestrial microfossil groups that are commonly used in environmental reconstructions. Students will also learn methods and analytical tools, as well as macroevolutionary patterns/changes in vertebrate groups, to understand past diversity and the processes responsible for faunal changes through time in New ZealandThe course is intended for geology majors and those in biological or environmental sciences wishing to learn more about New Zealand’s palaeontological history and unique taonga.
Goal of the CourseTo introduce students enrolled in Geology, Biology and Environmental Sciences to the fundamentals of modern palaeontology and applications in interpreting New Zealand geological and biological history. Students will learn how to identify and apply selected fossils groups in the detailed interpretations of past environments and reconstruction of past biotas. Students in GEOL347 will also develop a wider appreciation of these topics in the context of the published literature. Learning outcomes Discuss aspects of NZ palaeobiogeographic developmentBe able to identify selected fossil groups (marine and terrestrial micro, marine macro, vertebrates)Describe and demonstrate the interpretation of past environments using plants and invertebrates, and critically evaluate the strength of those interpretations.Comprehend a range of dating methods applied in palaeontologyEvaluate form and function in vertebrate palaeontologyInterpret simple phylogenetic reconstructions and their application in vertebrate palaeontology Evaluate past diversity and faunal changes in New Zealand vertebrate palaeontologyEvaluate palaeontological data and New Zealand records in the context of the wider published literature
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Biculturally competent and confident
Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
GEOL101 or BIOL112 or BIOL113.GEOL243 is recommended preparation but is not required.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Two 1-hour lectures per week, one 2.5-hour laboratory or tutorial each week
Vanesa De Pietri
This course is co-coded with GEOL247, and each course will have different assignment, test or exam questions for each assessment. In GEOL347 laboratory assessment will also require students to evaluate their conclusions in the context of the broader literature, and GEOL347 exam questions will be constructed to require students to adequately address both lecture content and provided readings.
Required textbook(s): There is no textbook for this course, weekly reading will be advised. GEOL347 students will be expected to incorporate reading material in to exam answers.
Weekly schedule of lecture and lab topicsWeek Lecture Topics Laboratory Topics 1 Major evolutionary events in Earth history Reading review time NZ palaeogeographic development (Palaeozoic/Mesozoic) 2 NZ paleobiogeographic development NZ Cenozoic marine molluscs Cenozoic and Quaternary (oceanography and evolution) Intro to principles of evolution, extinction and describing species (marine molluscs) 3 Marine micropalaeontology (forams and their Forensic forams applications) Marine micropaleontology (diatoms and their application) 4 Palaeoecology and palaeocommunities Sea-level records from forams Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction 5 Terrestrial palaeontology (pollen and plants) Terrestrial records Applications 6 Terrestrial palaeontology (pollen and plants) Practical Exam - CSI 7 NZ Quaternary records Terrestrial core records NZ refugia 8 Dating methods Core reconstructions (combining marine and terrestrial etc.) 9 Vertebrate palaeontology Verts 1: identification of vertebrate fossils; form and function 10 Vertebrate palaeontology Verts 1: phylogeny reconstruction and the fossil record 11 Vertebrate palaeontology Verts 2: Analysing fossil samples 1 12 Vertebrate palaeontology Verts 2: Analysing fossil samples 2
Domestic fee $951.00
International fee $4,750.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
School of Earth and Environment on the
departments and faculties