Evolutionary theory is the central paradigm for our understanding of all biological process from the molecular to the macroecological scale. It forms a supertheory for all biological sciences and has also major impact on the social sciences. Knowledge of the way how evolutionary change proceeds and about evolutionary possibilities and constraints is therefore a conditio sine qua non for al full understanding of other biological disciplines and has to be an important part of academic teaching.

The present lecture intends to introduce into our recent understanding of evolutionary patterns (the phylogenetic history) and processes (the mechanisms that drive evolutionary change). It also deals with the molecular basis of evolution and introduces in basic methods of paleobiology and phylogenetic inference.

Anna Goc (molecular genetics)

Tomasz Kozłowski (evolution of man)

Werner Ulrich ((evolutionary theory, paleobiology, cladistic analysis)

We discuss the following themes:

Lecture 1: Introduction

Lecture 2: The discovery of the past

Lecture 3: Early times

Lecture 4: From Ediacarian to modern times

Lecture 5: Creeping on land

Lecture 6: The Molecular basis of evolutionary change I

Lecture 7: The Molecular basis of evolutionary change II

Lecture 8: The Molecular basis of evolutionary change III

Lecture 9: Genetic variation and fitness

Lecture 10: Selection and adaptation

Lecture 11: Patterns of speciation and extinction

Lecture 12: The evolution of sociality

Lecture 13: Human evolution I

Lecture 14: Human evolution II

Accompanying literature will be given at the end of each lecture in form of important internet pages. Reading is obligatory and part of the examine at the end of the lecture. A separate Word file contains additional questions and directions for further study.

Examine: written test after the end of the term.