Dinosaur Planet

Science & Technology
Earth & Environmental Sciences
Course Code
EAES 1130
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course is about using fossils to reconstruct the origin, evolution, behaviour and extinction of dinosaurs. We will look at changes in the public perception and scientific interpretation of dinosaurs in the time since their initial discovery, with particular emphasis on relationships, adaptations and Mesozoic history.
Course Content
  1. The fossil record:  what is the fossil record, how the record is interpreted, and the influence of taphonomic processes.
  2. Geologic time, uniformitarian thinking, and global processes:  plate tectonics and global change.
  3. Classification, systematics, and organic evolution:  old and new viewpoints.
  4. Defining the dinosaur:  characteristics that identify an organism;  why ichthyosaurs are not dinosaurs.
  5. The major groups of dinosaurs:  Saurischia and Ornithischia, and subgroups;  old and new interpretations of appearance in life, physiology (warm or cold blooded), and behaviour.
  6. The origins of dinosaurs and the groups they replaced:  how the dinosaurs competed successfully and became dominant on Earth.
  7. Dinosaur evolution and adaptive radiations throughout the Mesozoic (Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods).
  8. The Mesozoic non-dinosaurs:  other animals that were present and how they interacted with dinosaurs.
  9. Dinosaurs, feathers, and the rise of birds:  how it is possible that some dinosaurs are still extant, flying all around us.
  10. Dinosaur extinction (aside from the birds):  summary of the hypotheses available, with special attention to the Chicxulub crater and the impact hypothesis; how such an event could happen in the future, and how it might affect humans.
  11. How dinosaur extinction affected the evolution of mammals.  Human evolution if dinosaurs had not become extinct.
  12. Evolutionary speculation:  How their descendants might look, if the dinosaurs had not become extinct.
Methods Of Instruction
  • Lecture
  • Laboratory
  • Videos
Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on the following:

Lab assignments                 10-20%

Lab exams (2)                    20-30%

Term paper                         5%

Participation                        5%

Mid-term exam                    20%

Final Exam                          30%

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course the student will be able to:

  1. Distinguish between major groups of dinosaurs on the basis of general morphology, using shared derived characteristics for these groups to interpret evolutionary relationships.
  2. Read, construct and annotate a simple phylogenetic tree to interpret and test relationships between major groups of dinosaurs.
  3. Relate changes in paleogeography to the distribution and occurrence of dinosaur fossils.
  4. Make inferences about the age and paleoenvironments of dinosaurs using basic stratigraphic principles, absolute ages and interpretations of depositional environment.
  5. Employ anatomical language to describe and differentiate between fossil vertebrates.
  6. Discuss how the study of dinosaurs is representative of the iterative nature of the scientific method, recognizing the role of basic observations, new discoveries and advances in study techniques.
  7. Explain how scientists infer dinosaur behaviour from fossil remains such as bones and trackways.
Textbook Materials

Students should consult the bookstore for the latest required course materials, including the textbook.

The course will use Fastovsky, D. E., and Weishampel, D. B., Dinosaurs: a concise natural history, latest edition, Cambridge University Press or an equivalent text.



No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


Requisite for

This course is not required for any other course.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX SOSC 1XX (3) 2016/05/01 to -
Athabasca University (AU) No credit 2016/05/01 to -
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU SCEL 1XX (3) 2016/05/01 to -
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR GEOL 1XX (3) 2016/05/01 to -
Langara College (LANG) LANG GEOG 1XXX (3) 2016/05/01 to -
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU EASC 103 (3) 2016/05/01 to -
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU GEOL 1031 (3) 2016/05/01 to -
University Canada West (UCW) UCW ARTS 1XX (3) 2017/01/01 to -
University Canada West (UCW) No credit 2016/05/01 to 2016/12/31
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO EESC 1st (3) 2016/05/01 to -
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV EOSC 116 (3) 2016/05/01 to -
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC GEOG 1XX (3) 2016/05/01 to -
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV GEOG 1XX (3) 2016/05/01 to 2017/12/31
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV GEOG 117 (3) 2018/01/01 to 2020/12/31
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC EOS 1XX (1.5) 2016/05/01 to -
Vancouver Community College (VCC) No credit 2017/01/01 to -

Course Offerings

Summer 2021

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.