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Part III Options: Palaeontology

EA: Palaeobotany

Nick Butterfield

8 lectures and practicals

Land plants play a first-order role in structuring the modern Earth system, a consequence of ca. 500 million years of 'progressive' evolutionary innovation and planetary feedback effects.  A rich fossil record, combined with insights from molecular biology, evolutionary theory and geobiology, allow the broad patterns of this history to be reconstructed.  This course will survey the evolution of land plants, focussing on the origin of major clades, organ systems, and ecosystems.

Examination: 90 minute 'theory' paper which may include specimens


EB: Records of Environmental Change in Earth History

Alex Liu

8 lectures and 8 seminars

The evolution of life on Earth has been influenced by changes in environmental conditions on multiple temporal and spatial scales. This seminar-based course will explore some of the major biological extinction and radiation events in Earth history from a macroevolutionary perspective, and will examine the role that contemporaneous environmental changes played in facilitating, forcing and/or exacerbating biological perturbations.

The course will be taught as a mixture of lectures and student-led seminar discussions, arranged in blocks of two hours of lecture, two hours of seminar each week.  16 hrs (4 x 4hrs per week).

Examination: 90-minute theory paper, 2 questions from a choice of 3.


Past Tripos papers