The UNSW Life Through Time (GEOS2071) course is a second-year course and offers an overview of life through time with a focus on Australian prehistory. The nature, functional morphology and evolutionary history of invertebrates, vertebrates and plants are presented in the context of Australia's evolving habitats and climates.

Processes and places of fossilisation, evolution, time scales, approaches to assessing relationships and the plate tectonic history of Australia are important components of the history of our unique biota. Practical work on the most important groups of fossils is an essential part of the course.

Throughout Life Through Time, you’ll gain an overview of the evolution of life and the factors that have created change and diversity. Upon completion, you’ll have practical experience in palaeontology.


Course Breakdown

Our aim is to provide a general understanding of the evolution of life on Earth and its preservation in the geological record, with special reference to Australian examples. The course will also provide practical skills in identification of key features for selected fossil groups.

Laboratories and fieldwork will provide practical skills in identifying invertebrate and vertebrate fossils, in dating and phylogenetic analyses, virtual palaeontological methods and in conducting and reporting on palaeontological fieldwork. There are four days of fieldwork that will be undertaken as part of this course.

The course emphasises the development of:

  • Oral presentational skills and report writing
  • Project planning and management, including data handling
  • Group work


Conditions for Enrolment

The course is a general option in science and is most relevant to students undertaking majors in Biological Science, Environmental or Earth Sciences.