Introduction to Analytical Paleobiology: Fossil Record Biases, Diversity, & Biogeography


ONLINE, 13-17 February 2023


Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, this course will be held online


Course overview

This course will provide a complete guide to basic analytical techniques for examining macroevolutionary and biodiversity patterns using online databases (primarily The Paleobiology Database), from instruction on data collection, handling, and curation, to plotting and publishing results. First, we will cover the theory behind the structure of the fossil record and how paleodiversity information is generated and inherently biased by geological and anthropogenic processes. We will discuss how to outline these processes, recognise the biases, incorporate these information in our datasets, convert the data into analysable formats, and visualise them. Then, we will expand on this foundation by talking about modelling techniques used in analytical paleobiology, going through the different options for analytical approaches and linking them with hypothesis testing.

Course format

There will be several opportunities to introduce and use your own data, and therefore to develop plans for carrying out your own analyses. The course will be very interactive and will come with code, with a combination of quick quizzes, supervised sessions, independent hands-on sessions, and brief group discussions.


We assume some basic experience with the R coding language.



Monday– Classes from 2-8 PM Berlin time



Introduction to analytical paleobiology and studies of past diversity and biogeography

Types of fossil data and databases

The Paleobiology Database (PBDB)

Introduction to the PBDB, available data, functionality, and limitations

Practical: Walk through of the PBDB and exploration of possible analyses


Cost overview

Package 1


480 €

Should you have any further questions, please send an email to

Cancellation Policy:


> 30  days before the start date = 30% cancellation fee

< 30 days before the start date= No Refund.


Physalia-courses cannot be held responsible for any travel fees, accommodation or other expenses incurred to you as a result of the cancellation.