Abiotic: non-living.

Adaptive radiation: evolution of numerous species from a common ancestor.

Biodiversity: diversity of living organisms. Biotas: assemblages of organisms. Biotic: from living organisms.

Darwinian selection: selection of organisms based on the relative contribution of an organism to the gene pool of the next generation.

Ecospace: area available for organisms to occupy. This is partly a physical space, and partly a series of interactions between organisms.

Evolution: processes of change in living organisms over time. Niche: the sum of an organism's use of all available environmental resources. Also called an ecological niche. Species: organisms with similar anatomical characteristics that can, potentially, interbreed.

Species diversity: number and relative abundance of species in a biological community.

Taxonomy: science of naming and classifying organisms.

Reading list

Ausich, W.I. and Lane, N.G. (1999) Life of the Past. Prentice

Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Benton, M. and Harper, D. (1997) Basic Palaeontology.

Addison Wesley Longman, Harlow, UK. Brenchley, P.J. and Harper, D.A.T. (1998) Palaeoecology: Ecosystems, Environments and Evolution. Chapman and Hall, London.

Briggs, D.E.G. and Crowther, P.R. (1990) Paleobiology I.

Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK. Briggs, D.E.G. and Crowther, P.R. (2001) Palaeobiology II. Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK.

Clarkson, E.N.K. (1998) Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution. 4th edn. Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK.

Cowen, R. (2005) History ofLife, 4th edn. Blackwell Science, Oxford, UK.

Doyle, P. (1996) Understanding Fossils. An Introduction to Invertebrate Palaeontology. Wiley, Chichester, UK.

Gee, H. (2000) Shaking the Tree, Readings from Nature in the History ofLife. Chicago University Press, Chicago.

McKinney, F.K. (1991) Exercises in Invertebrate Paleontology. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford, UK.

Prothero, D.R. (2004) Bringing Fossils to Life: an Introduction to Paleobiology. W.C.B./McGraw-Hill, New York.

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