The unit will draw upon the wide range of world experts at the University of Manchester; each week, a different researcher will cover topics relating to cutting edge analytical techniques and applications of modern palaeontology. We will explore how fossil data can be used to not only reconstruct past life, continents, and climates, but also solve contemporary real world problems ranging from hydrocarbon exploration, conservation of biodiversity and geological heritage, and public understanding of science. As such, this unit will bring students right up to the state-of-the-art both in terms of their understanding and their practical skills. The format for each week will be a 1 hour lecture followed by an interactive seminar session (either directed discussion, hands-on practical, or some combination of the two). After the Easter break, students will give an assessed individual presentation on a topic of their choice from the course, in a half-day undergraduate symposium.