GEO2160 – Paleontology and Paleoecology

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course introduces you to how fossils are formed and preserved, and how they can be used to reveal how the continents and the environment have changed, both on land and in the sea, through the Earth’s history up to the present day. You will learn about fossils that represent totally different groups of organisms, from microfossils to dinosaurs, and how they can contribute to our understanding of evolution and the great mass extinctions, and how these phenomena are related to climate and environment.

Learning outcome

When you have completed this course, you will know about

  • how fossils are formed, what they are composed of, and when during the Earth’s history selected groups lived
  • fossils'/organisms’ relationships to each other and to their surroundings
  • the most important stable isotopes and trace fossils, and how we can use these in palaeontological interpretation
  • the major mass extinctions and their consequences for evolution, which organisms were hit hardest, and which processes are considered to have caused the extinction
  • the chief biostratigraphic principles and what they are based on
  • how to use modern statistical methods for ecological analyses

Admission to the course

Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Special admission requirements

In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:

  • Mathematics R1 (or Mathematics S1 and S2) + R2

And in addition one of these:

  • Physics (1+2)
  • Chemistry (1+2)
  • Biology (1+2)
  • Information technology (1+2)
  • Geosciences (1+2)
  • Technology and theories of research (1+2)

The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies (in Norwegian).

Formal prerequisite knowledge

The course includes a compulsory field course and excursions. A health-and-safety course for safety in the field must be passed before you can go on these:

Overlapping courses


During the course of the semester, there are 24 double lectures and in addition 12 double periods with compulsory practicals.

There is one compulsory excursion in the course.

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory. Students who fail to meet are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Student administration (

We reserve the right to change the teaching form and examination of the course in semesters where 5 or fewer students have been admitted.

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or fieldwork, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.

Read general information about excursions at the Department of Geosciences.


  • Participation in the mandatory practicals must have been approved before the final written examination.

  • The final written examination counts 100% towards the final grade.

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in Norwegian. You may submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) May 20, 2022 11:14:58 PM

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