The course will have 2 hours of lecture and 4 hours of lab every week.
Topics covered in lecture:
Basics of paleontology
- Fossilization and preservation types
- Taxonomy, classification and systematics
- Incompleteness of the fossil record and taphonomy
The fossil record of life (integrated with lab)
- Origin of life as seen in the fossil record
- Precambrian organisms
- Origin of complex and multicellular eukaryotes
- Marine invertebrates of the Paleozoic
- Origin of terrestrial life, including land plants and tetrapods
- Marine invertebrates of the Mesozoic & Cenozoic
- Mesozoic terrestrial life
- Cenozoic terrestrial life
Interpreting the fossil record
- Relating morphology to lifestyles and niches
- Seeing evolution in the fossil record
- Cladistics and the reconstruction of evolutionary relationships
- Reconstructing paleoenvironments from fossils, including trace fossils and microfossils
- Fossils as rock formers
Labs may include the following topics:
- Fossil preparation and extraction
- Cyanobacteria and stromatolites
Upon successful completion of this course the student should be able to:
- Utilize morphology, anatomy, composition and age to distinguish between and identify a wide variety of fossils.
- Infer the depositional history and other taphonomic factors from fossils and their preservation.
- Describe major changes in life though geologic time and the evidence used to support interpretation(s) of the fossil record.
- Apply biostratigraphic principles to infer environmental changes as well as age relationships.
- Explain how the mechanisms of evolution can be seen through the fossil record.
- Use the distribution of fossils to make inferences about paleobiogeography and ancient plate configurations.
- Identify and describe the uses of trace fossils and microfossils.
|Lecture homework assignments||0-10%|
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 table above.
Students should consult the bookstore for the latest required course materials, including textbook.
Prothero, D.R. 2013. Bringing fossils to life: an introduction to paleobiology, 2nd. edition. Columbia University Press, New York. Or equivalent.