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The fossil record reveals that life has changed dramatically since it originated and that evolution is intimately associated with changes in physical conditions on our planet. Not only have the various groups of organisms evolved but also the biosphere, as a whole, has changed conspicuously since its origin over 3.500 million years ago.
How has life changed during this immensely long period of time and what processes have affected rates and trends of evolution? What caused the biotic diversifications and the mass extinction events that have been major factors in the evolutionary history? In what way is the evolution of life linked to the geological development of Earth through time? How can fossils be used as tools in various geological investigations? These are just some of the issues that will be discussed during this course. The complex interactions between past organisms and their environments, and the evolution of marine and terrestrial biotic systems within a deep-time framework are core topics of the course. We will also study modern stratigraphic methods, global correlations, and the geologic time scale. During one week of field camp on Gotland, we will study the world-famous, richly fossiliferous succession and its preserved traces of the dynamic Silurian Earth.
More information can be found at http://www.geol.lu.se/gu/courses/geom04/course.htm