Diversity and Evolution of Vertebrates

Module code: GL3111
Module co-ordinator: Professor Mark Purnell
Pre-requisites: GL2107

In this module, you'll learn how to use cladistic terminology to describe phylogenetic patterns, outline basic patterns of relationships and character acquisition, and evaluate hypotheses of the ecological/functional transitions involved in the origins of major chordate crown groups (vertebrates, gnathostomes, actinopterygians, tetrapods, birds, and mammals).

By the end of the module, you'll be able to recognize and interpret a wide range of vertebrate specimens.


  • 18 hours of lectures
  • 16 hours of practical classes and workshops
  • 2 hours of supervised time in lab/studio/workshop
  • 114 hours of guided independent study


  • Essay exam, 1½ hours (60%)
  • Written report, based partly on laboratory work, with individual and group components (40%)