BIOL 304 (Fall)


G. Bell (Coordinator)
Redpath Museum
(514) 398-6458
3 credits (2-3-4)
BIOL 205, BIOL 215 or ENVR 202 (or equivalents)

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to evolutionary biology. It covers both short-term and long-term evolutionary processes. The material is presented in six major sections: 

Part 1: Basics.  The Evidence for Evolution. The Engine of Evolution.
Part 2: Diversity. The Tree of Life. The Main Kinds of Living Organisms. The Ancestry of Living Organisms.
Part 3: Organisms. Genome Structure. Development. Adaptation and Evolved Design.
Part 4: Origins. The Origin of Genes. The Origin of Species. The Origin of Innovation.
Part 5: Selection. Natural Selection in the Laboratory. Artificial Selection. Natural Selection in the Field.
Part 6: Interaction. Sexuality and sexual selection. Social Life. Coevolution.

The course as a whole will provide a set of principles based on the observed patterns and established processes of evolution that enable biologists to account for the diversity of all life and explain how the modern biota came to be. 

The Evolution of Life (G. Bell), Oxford University Press, 2015.
Two one-hour lectures and one three-hour laboratory weekly.

Laboratory reports (40%), midterm lecture exam (25%) and final lecture exam (35%)


McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures (see for more information).

Last update: March 27, 2019