PALAEO 3000 - Field Palaeontology III

North Terrace Campus - Quadmester 4 - 2021

This theoretical and practical course provides a basis for an in-depth understanding of the techniques and steps involved in the search, survey, excavation, preparation, curation and management of invertebrate and vertebrate fossils and sites. South Australia is fortunate in having a fossil record covering four of the most significant periods the evolution of life in our continent: the Ediacaran sites of the Flinders Ranges, the Cambrian sites of Kangaroo Island, the Cretaceous opalised marine faunas of Coober Pedy and the Quaternary vertebrate remains (including megafauna) of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Naracoorte Caves Fossils. Students will have to cover part of the expenses and will spend 5 nights in the first week and 5 nights in the second week away from Adelaide. This is a two-week course taught in intensive mode in Term 4 (after the End-of-year Exams), and takes place in Kingscote (Kangaroo Island) and Naracoorte Caves National Park. It will consist of a combination of fieldwork, lectures, practicals (lab work) and small-group oral presentations. The lectures will touch upon animal classification and systematics, fossil record of principal animal groups, taphonomy, palaeoenvironments, fossil & heritage legislation and palaeo-tourism, specifically focused on the Ediacaran, Cambrian and Quaternary. This course integrates concepts of evolution, zoology, systematics, sedimentology, stratigraphy, and builds upon prior student learning, thus developing an in-depth understanding of the drivers of extinction and evolution.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PALAEO 3000
    Course Field Palaeontology III
    Coordinating Unit School of Biological Sciences
    Term Quadmester 4
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 63 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites Either PALAEO 3005 ENV BIOL 2501 or GEOLOGY 2500
    Assessment Field & lab book; quizzes, oral presentation
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Associate Professor Diego C Garcia-Bellido

    This course is taught by Assoc Prof Diego C. García-Bellido, Dr Liz Reed, Assoc Prof Lee Arnold and Assoc Prof Jeremy Austin.
    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:
    1. Recognise sedimentary deposits capable of preserving fossils and apply the principal elements of fossil excavation;
    2. Prepare a basic fieldtrip for a palaeontological excavation;
    3. Learn how to extract, annotate (context recording), prepare, preserve and catalogue fossils;
    4. Understand the multidisciplinary nature of modern palaeontology and the importance of collaborative research;
    5. Communicate aspects of palaeontological discovery and heritage to their peers and the community in accessible language.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 3, 4, 5
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    1, 4, 5
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    1, 2, 4, 5
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1, 2, 3, 4, 5
    Intercultural and ethical competency
    • adept at operating in other cultures
    • comfortable with different nationalities and social contexts
    • able to determine and contribute to desirable social outcomes
    • demonstrated by study abroad or with an understanding of indigenous knowledges
    1, 2, 4, 5
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    1, 2, 3, 5
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Learning Activities Summary

    No information currently available.

  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary

    No information currently available.

    Assessment Detail

    No information currently available.


    No information currently available.

    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

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