Diversity and Evolution of Vertebrates

Module code: GL3111

Module co-ordinator: Professor Mark Purnell

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.


  • Lectures
  • Laboratory practical classes
  • Directed reading
  • Demonstrations
  • Project supervision
  • Independent research


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