Postgraduate course

Vertebrates in Palaeoecology

  • ECTS credits5
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeBIO354
  • Number of semesters1
  • Language

    English if English-speaking students attend the lectures - otherwise Norwegian.

  • Resources

Teaching semester


This course has a limited capacity, enrolment is based on application. Application deadline is Thursday in week 2 for the spring semester. Please see this page for more information: https://www.uib.no/en/matnat/53431/admission-courses-limited-capacity

You will receive confirmation of whether you received a spot in Studentweb no later than Tuesday the week after the deadline.

The time of the first lecture/orientation meeting can be found in the schedule on the course website or on the Mitt UiB learning platform.

The course runs only if enough students enrol.

Objectives and Content

Students will be introduced to the study of fossil bones in palaeoecology, including past climate reconstructions, and in archaeology, where bones of people and their associated animals give evidence of how our ancestors lived.

Students will learn where fossil bones are found and preserved, how to study and identify them, and how to interpret the fossil assemblages from all vertebrate groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish). The role of bones in deciphering vertebrate evolution, including Man, and the development of the Norwegian fauna during and after the last ice age will be described. Human and animal bones play a vital role in archaeology.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the exam, the student will:

  • Have basic knowledge of vertebrate immigration and dissemination through the history in Norway - from the last interglacial to recent times.
  • Knowledge of the most important cultural factors that have influenced vertebrate fauna development in Norway.
  • Have basic knowledge of the vertebrate bone's structure and the different kinds of bone morphology
  • Have basic knowledge of bones of fish, birds and mammals
  • Be able, by means of comparative material, to identify sub-fossil bones to bones kind and nature.
  • Having knowledge about the various osteological methods used to examine individual age, sex, shape, size and pathology.
  • Knowledge of the various chemical, biochemical and physical methods used in the analysis of sub-fossil bone material.
  • Be able to analyze a smaller sub-fossil bone material and present the results in a written report.

Required Previous Knowledge

Compulsory parts of a Bachelor in Biology or the equivalent. The course is also open for students with a Bachelor in Archeology.

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Course Evaluation

Students will evaluate the course in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the Department. You can find courseevaluations in the Quality Assurance Reports.

Exam information