Palaeozoology of Dinosaurs and Megafauna (C7146)

15 credits, Level 6

Autumn teaching

Dinosaurs and other extinct megafauna, from sabre-toothed cats to megalodon sharks, have fascinated most of us since we were children. These animals which dominated the Earth for hundreds of millions of years were incredible for many reasons, and the more we uncover about their palaeobiology the more amazing they turn out to be.

The science of palaeozoology is also a fascinating study in the scientific method, and a useful example of the remarkable insights science can achieve even with only limited material to work with, such as that provided by the fossil record. How can we not only identify animals, but also work out their biology, behaviour and ecology, from only ancient bones and other fossilised material? Guesswork has now been replaced by researchers using a wide range of quantitative techniques to develop a rigorous, detailed understanding of the palaeobiology of animals, making palaeozoology one of the fastest moving fields of scientific research today.

In this module you will learn about the palaeozoology of dinosaurs and other extinct megafauna, from their classification, phylogenetics and evolution, to form and function. You will learn about the scientific evidence behind our understanding of how these animals lived, behaved and interacted with other organisms in their ecosystems, and the techniques, strengths and limitations of the methods that scientists use to study extinct animals.


100%: Lecture


100%: Coursework (Essay)

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 10 hours of contact time and about 140 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

We regularly review our modules to incorporate student feedback, staff expertise, as well as the latest research and teaching methodology. We’re planning to run these modules in the academic year 2021/22. However, there may be changes to these modules in response to COVID-19, staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.


This module is offered on the following courses: