Basics of geology – the basic course for understanding the main geological processes and their impact on biological world. The modern world is the result of the evolution of the Earth. Students will study physical features of minerals, the origin and characteristics of magmatic (igneous) and metamorphic rocks; volcanic processes and differentiation of volcanic rocks as well as sedimentary rocks (erosion, transportation and sedimentation; clastic rocks; biogenic rocks and fossils. Evaporites. Plate tectonics. Basics of stratigraphy and time in geology.
Basics of biology – In this course students will learn the basic biological principles in physiology, genetics, evolution, both in botany and zoology.
Comparative anatomy – the basic course for understanding animal phylogeny and comparative embryology; obtaining information on skeletal evolution and construction of the muscular system, including types of locomotion, evolution of the nervous system, levels of metabolism and integration with the environment.
Methods of palaeontological research – The main aim of this course is to present the various techniques and methods used in palaeontological research, as based on different states of preservation, different types of matrix, chemical and mineral composition of fossil-bearing rocks as well as physico-chemical characteristics of fossils. Some specific methods of preparation will be presented as well, such as latex replicas, UV and X ray, serial sections, isotopes etc. Methods of fossil conservation.
Palaeobiology of invertebrates – This course is the beginning of the study of palaeobiology, starting with a definition of the discipline. The history of the study of fossil invertebrates; general characteristics of the main invertebrate fossil groups and their role in biostratigraphy and reconstruction of evolutionary lineages. Taxonomy.
Palaeobiology of vertebrates – Origination of vertebrates. Differentiation of fossil fish. From the sea to the land. Evolution of primitive tetrapods. Mesozoic expansion of amphibians. Origination of modern amphibians. Evolution of first Amniota. Fossil reptile groups. Diversity of dinosaurs. Origination of birds and first mammals. Mammal evolution. Origination of hominids.
Palaeohistology – Introduction to histology; basic types of tissues; scheme of bone growth; primary bone; dense bone and cancellous bone; types of primary bone tissue; highest level of bone tissue organisation; primary osteons; markers of growth; reconstruction of primary bone and origin of secondary bone; secondary osteons and Haver’s system; bones of mammals; other types of bone structures; osteoderms and other hard tissues – dentine, etc.
Geobiology – One of the newest courses, outlining mainly the impact of the mineral substratum on the development of fauna and flora as well as the impact of biosphere on mineral substances.
Taphonomy – One of the basic courses of palaeobiology discussing primary skeletal substances and their inner structure; chemical transformations and physical skeletal elements in depositional and diagenetic processes
Scientific communication – The structure of scientific papers, various forms of written reports on results, principles of graphic design for scientific presentations, the most popular graphic programs, principles of preparing oral presentations, construction of the lecture, attitude and tone of voice during a lecture, selection of appropriate language and media dependent of target audience; rules of debate, principles of anti plagiarism; rules of citation and composing references, etc