2023-2024 / PALE0202-3



20h Th, 20h Pr, 1d FW

Number of credits

 Bachelor in geology4 crédits 


Cyrille Prestianni

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

The course of Paleobotany broadly explores the plant evolutionary tree and illustrates the dynamics specific to the various lineages of embryophytes (land plants). This cours offers keys to understand the plant diversity both fossil and actual. A special focus is made on the main transitions of the evolution of plants.

  • Introduction. A brief overview of the prerequisite botanical knowledge. A condensed history of paleobotany as a scientific disciplin. The main steps of the evolution of plants.
  • The origin of plants.
  • The evolution of plants. Bryophytes, Protracheophytes, Paratracheophytes, Basal Eutracheophytes, Lycophytes, Trimerophytes, Monilophytes (Cladoxylopsids, Sphenopsids, Filicopsids), Non spermatyophytic Lignophytes (Aneurophytales, Archaeopteridales), Non angispermian Spermatophytes, Angiosperms. 

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

  • Detailed knowledge of the evolutionary history, anatomy and morphology of the main embryophyte groups having an adequate fossil record.
  • Recognition and identification at low taxonomic rank of common Wallonian fossils and at high taxonomic rank of all fossil groups (with a focus on palaeozoic groups).
  • Detailed knowledge of the stratigraphic arrangement and associations of fossil floras.
  • Notions of ecology and physiology to understand lifestyle and the preservation of the fossil groups addressed in the course.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

  • Fundamentals of geology (dating methods, stratigraphy, deposition and formation of sedimentary rocks).
  • Phylogeny of extant embryophyte lineages.
  • Extant plant anatomy.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The courses will take the shape of a theoretical lesson followed by practicals used to illustrate the concepts.
The face to face sessions are used to give the theoretical context and to discuss concepts and difficult parts of the course.
The practical session focus on the morphology and identification of major fossil groups of embryophytes and the illustration of the main evolutionary trends that have affected them. Particular emphasis is placed on fossils that are common in Belgium and surrounding areas.
Fieldwork (1 x 8h) teaches the student to collect and identify fossil plants and analyze how fossils are integrated into sedimentary deposits.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Face-to-face, lecture delivered in French.

Class attendance is strongly recommended.

Attendance at practical work sessions is compulsory.

Recommended or required readings

Lecture notes in pdf format and all PowerPoint presentations are available on the student portal.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Out-of-session test(s)

Additional information:

Out of session evaluations. Accounts for 1/4 of the final grade.

  • An evaluation of the practical reports to hand over at the end of each practical.
Examination during the June exam session. It comprises:

  • An oral examination based on broad questions on the theoretical courses. Accounts for 2/4 of the final grade.
  • A practical part, oral as well, which consists of the argued determination, without any notes, of a series of fossils (5, generally). Accounts for 1/4 of the final grade.
Attendance of all practical sessions and all fieldwork days is compulsory to pass the exam.


Work placement(s)


Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Attendance at theoretical courses, praticals and field trips is mandatory.


Cyrille Prestianni c.prestianni@uliege.be

Association of one or more MOOCs