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Course, academic year 2023/2024
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Vertebrate diversity - MB170P125
Title: Vertebrate diversity
Czech title: Diverzita obratlovců
Guaranteed by: Department of Zoology (31-170)
Faculty: Faculty of Science
Actual: from 2022 to 2023
Semester: winter
E-Credits: 3
Examination process: winter s.:written
Hours per week, examination: winter s.:2/0, Ex [HT]
Capacity: unlimited
Min. number of students: 5
4EU+: no
Virtual mobility / capacity: no
State of the course: taught
Language: English
Note: enabled for web enrollment
Guarantor: doc. Mgr. Pavel Munclinger, Ph.D.
Teacher(s): prof. Mgr. Tomáš Albrecht, Ph.D.
doc. Mgr. Pavel Munclinger, Ph.D.
Mgr. Zuzana Musilová, Ph.D.
doc. Mgr. Pavel Němec, Ph.D.
Mgr. Jiří Šmíd, Ph.D.
Incompatibility : MB170P13A
Is co-requisite for: MB170C125
The lectures will start on Monday the 2nd of October (the first day of semester).

Vertebrates are without doubts the most popular and longest studied group of organisms. However, our
understanding of vertebrate biology and systematics has changed dramatically in recent decades with the advent
of new research techniques and new fossil discoveries. The goal of the course is to describe the major transitions
in vertebrate evolution and to introduce the fascinating diversity of vertebrates in space and time. Lectures will
focus on the present-day groups of vertebrates, their distribution on Earth, up-to-date systematic relationships, and
biological details ranging from genomes through anatomy, ecology, and behaviour to community level. Students
will be also briefly guided through the 500-million-year history of the vertebrates and familiarised with the
major vertebrate groups that have ruled the world in the past.

Last update: Munclinger Pavel, doc. Mgr., Ph.D. (25.09.2023)


Pough F. H., Bemis W. E., McGuire B. & Janis C. M. (2022) Vertebrate life.
Basic textbook, many editions, try to get the latest one.

Gaisler J. & Zima J. (2018) Zoologie obratlovců. Academia, Praha.
Excellent textbook, in Czech only.

Prothero D. R. (2022) Vertebrate evolution. From origins to dinosaurs and beyond. CRC Press.

Linzey D. W. (2020) Vertebrate Biology. Johns Hopkins University Press.


Facey D. E., Bowen B. W., Collette B. B. & Helfman G. (2022) Diversity of Fishes - Biology, Evolution and Ecology. John Wiley and Sons Ltd.



Amphibian Species of the World;
Classification of amphibians


Reptile Database;
Exhaustive list of all species including details on their distribution, systematics and taxonomy

Vit & Caldwell (2014): Herpetology, An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles. Academic Press

Lovich & Gibbons (2021): Turtles of the World: A Guide to Every Family. Princeton University Press

Gower & Zaher (2022). The Origin and Early Evolutionary History of Snakes. Cambridge University Press

Caldwell (2021). The Origin of Snakes. CRC Press


Grigg G. & Kirschner D. (2015) Biology and Evolution of Crocodylians. Csiro publishig.
Everything about crocodyles in detail.


Witton M. P. (2013) Pterosaurs. Princeton University Press.
Evolution, biology, amazing illustrations.

Paul G. S. (2022) Princeton Field Guide to Pterosaurs.


Fastowsky D. E. & Weishampel D. B. (2021) Dinosaurs. A Concise Natural History. Cambridge University Press.
Ecellent textbook

Benton M. J. (2021) Dinosaurs. New visions of a lost world. Thames & Hudson, London.
New facts and reconstructions. Also a few pterosaurs, ichthyosaurs, early birds and mammals.

Paul G. S. (2016) Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs.
Illustrated checklist, nice short introductory chapters.


Elphick J. (2016) Birds. A complete guide to their biology and behaviour. Natural Hirtory Museum. London
Short, comprehensive.

Lovette I. J. & Fitzpatrick J. W. (2016) The Cornell Lab of Ornothology Handbook of Bird Biology.

Mayr G. (2017) Avian Evolution. The fossil record of birds and its paleobiological significance. Wiley Blackwell.
Evolution, fossils...

Benito J. & Olivé R. (2022) Birds of Mesozoic. An illustrated field guide. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Illustrations of all known Mesozoic birds in the field guide style, nice short introductory chapters.

Elphick J. (2019) The Handbook of Bird Families. Natural Hirtory Museum. London.
Short, comprehensive.

Winkler D. W. (2015) Bird Families of the World. An Invitation to the Spectacular Diversity of Birds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Rather detailed invitation.

Fjeldså J., Christidis L. & Ericson Per G. P. (2020) The Largest Avian Radiation. The Evolution of Perching Birds, or the Order of Passeriformes. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

del Hoyo, J. ed. (2020). All the birds of the World. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
All bird species illustrated in a single book.


Prothero D. R. (2017) The Princeton field guide to prehistoric mammals.

Kelt D. A. & Patton J. L. (2020) A manual of the Mammalia.

Zima J. & Macholán M. (2021) Systém a fylogeneze savců. (in Czech)

Brusatte S. (2022) The rise and reign of the mammals. A new history from the shadow of the dinosaurs to us.

Wilson D. E., Mittermeier R. A. & Lacher T. E. (eds.) Handbook of the Mammals of the World – Volumes 1-9. Lynx.

Burgin C. J., Wilson D. E., Mittermeier R. E., Rylands A. B., Lacher T. E. & Sechrest W. (eds.) Illustrated Checklist of the Mammals of the World. Lynx.

Prothero D. R. (2006) After the Dinosaurs: The Age of Mammals (Life of the Past). Indiana University Press.

Kemp T. S. (2005) The Origin and Evolution of Mammals. Oxford University Press.

Last update: Munclinger Pavel, doc. Mgr., Ph.D. (09.01.2023)
Requirements to the exam

Standard oral examination based on knowledge from lectures

Last update: Munclinger Pavel, doc. Mgr., Ph.D. (12.12.2022)
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