Selected topics in palaeontology


Environmental and Regional Studies (3rd level)

Paleobiology and sedimentary geology (3rd Cycle)

Course code: DIP03
Year of study: without

Course principal:
Assist. Prof. Špela Goričan, Ph. D.


Workload: lectures 20 hours, seminar 10 hours, tutorial 30 hours, individual work 120 hours
Course type: modul elective
Languages: Slovene, English
Learning and teaching methods: lectures, e-learning, seminars, practical training


Course syllabus (download)


Inscription to the 1st academic year.


Content (Syllabus outline):

  • Procaryotes, protists and invertebrates (selected groups)
  • Morphology and systematics
  • Biology (nutrition, reproduction, ecology, provincialism)
  • Biomineralization processes and skeletal growth
  • Preservation potential in the fossil record
  • Biostratigraphy
  • Palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography
  • Evolution (phylogenetic lineages and diversity dynamics)



Selected chapters and papers from:

  • Briggs, D. & Crowther, P.R. (Eds.) 1990. Palaeobiology: A Synthesis. 1-608, Blackwell Science.
  • Briggs, D. & Crowther, P.R. (Eds.) 2001. Palaeobiology II. 1-600, Blackwell Science.
  • Foote, M. & Miller, A. 2007. Principles of Paleontology (3rd edition), 1-354, Freeman.
  • Clarkson, E.N.K. 1998. Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution (4th edition), 1-470, Blackwell Science.
  • Lipps, J.H. 1993. Fossil Prokaryotes and Protists, 1-1-342, Blackwell Scientific Publications.
  • Plus specific papers and catalogues for the selected groups of fossils.


Objectives and competences:

The purpose of the course is to deepen the knowledge on selected groups of fossils. Each group will be treated from different aspects covering biology of living taxa as well as spatial and temporal distribution in the fossil record. A close relationship between (palaeo)biology of these organisms and their physical environment will be emphasized. This course will be largely based on a supervised research project carried out by each student. The selection of the considered fossil group(s) will be adapted individually according to student’s research interests.


Intended learning outcomes:

Knowledge and understanding:

The student is able to identify the studied fossils and knows their significance as stratigraphic and/or environmental indicators. He can analyse and interpret their spatio-temporal diversity patterns in correlation with environmental changes. He knows the main criteria of classification at species, genus and suprageneric level. He can empirically reconstruct phyletic lineages.



Written or oral exam (50 %), written paper (50 %).