Academic year
Subject Area
Área Científica do Menor
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

The course requires basic knowledge regarding the geological cycle (Genral Geology) and linguistic competence in oral and written communication in Portuguese and English.

Teaching Methods

Classroom teaching with the following components:

Theorical: using audiovisual means to facilitate the understanding of concepts, models and methodologies. Practical and laboratory: resolution of practical problems, using appropriate methodologies and techniques.

Fieldwork: collaborative work performed by groups including 3 students7each. Critical analysis will be done after the final performance of the tasks in the field.

Learning Outcomes

The course aims to help students understand:

1) the concept of fossil as representation of life forms from the Past;

2) the fossil record as a basic argument of the Theory of Evolution;

3) The Geological Timetable as an expression of the History of Life on Earth;

4) The Paleontological Heritage as non-renewable georesources culturally indispensable in enhancing the scientific literacy.

Skills to develop:

Instrumental: competence in analysis and synthesis, skills to solve problems, competence in oral and written communication.

Personal: competence in critical thinking and competence in working in interdisciplinary teams.

Systemic: competence in applying theoretical knowledge in practice, competence in planning and managing, concern for quality, competence in autonomous learning.

Work Placement(s)



Paleontology within other sciences.

Taphonomy. Biostratinomy and diagenesis. Fossilization process and taphonomic products. Gaps in the fossil record.

Systematics and Taxonomy. Principles of classification. Rules of nomenclature. Zoological and Botanic Guides. The individual. The species.

Theory of evolution. Genetics. Laws of evolution.

Biostratigraphy. Stratigraphic units. Index-fossils. Biozone and chronobiozone. Criteria for the establishment of biozones. The International Stratigraphic Guide.

Mode of life. Feeding. Respiration. Reproduction. Ichnology: preservation types and nomenclature. Significance of trace fossils. Ichnofacies. Taxiology.

Ecology. External factors. Relationships between organisms. Communities.

Biogeography. Principles. Present and past biogeographic provinces. The history of life on Earth.

Applied Paleontology.

Paleontology and Society. Paleontological Heritage.

Head Lecturer(s)

Maria Helena Paiva Henriques

Assessment Methods

Laboratory work or Field work: 10.0%
Resolution Problems: 40.0%
Exam: 50.0%


Briggs, E. G. & Crowther, P. R. Ed. (1990). Palaeobiology. A synthesis. Blackwell Sc. Publ., Oxford, 583 p.

Chacón, M. L. & Rivas, P. Eds. (2009). Paleontología de Invertebrados. Soc. Esp. Paleontología, Inst. Geol. Min. España, Univ. Oviedo & Univ. Granada, 524 p.

Carvalho, I. S. Ed. (2010). Paleontologia. Conceitos. Métodos. Editora Interciência, Rio de Janeiro, Vol. 1, 734 p.

Carvalho, I. Ed. (2011). Paleontologia. Microfósseis. Paleoinvertebrados. Vol. 2, Editora Interciência, 531 p.

Domènech, R. & Martinell, J. (1996). Introducción a los fósiles. Masson, Barcelona, 288 p.

Henriques, M. H. (2010). Paleontologia e Educação para a Sustentabilidade. In: Carvalho, I. S. (Ed.), “Paleontologia”, 3ª Edição, Editora Interciência, Rio de Janeiro, Vol. 1, Cap. 35, pp. 577-588.

Ziegler, B. (1983). Introduction to Palaeobiology. General Palaeontology. Ellis Horwood Ser. Geol., Chichester, 225 p.