Important Notice

This course is not active. Please contact Department Chair for more information.

Important Notice

This course has been discontinued. Please contact Department Chair for more information.

Dinosaur Planet

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


Course Description
This course is about Dinosaurs: their behaviour, evolution, and extinction. We will discuss public perception of dinosaurs, how new discoveries have changed scientific ideas about dinosaurs, and how the study of these creatures fits into science overall. Although there are no prerequisites, this course will also be of interest to those who have taken other courses in Geology.
Course Content
  1. The fossil record:  what it is, how it is interpreted, and how taphonomic processes influence
  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 with practical exercises
  • Videos
  • Internet searches
Means of Assessment
Mid-term exam 20%
Lab assignment 40%
Paper/diagnosis of species 10%
Final exam 30%


Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Name and define the major groups and sub-groups of dinosaurs, and describe their evolutionary relationships.
  2. Describe the Mesozoic paleoenvironments, and the ecological roles played by dinosaurs.
  3. Recognize representative dinosaur bones and teeth.
  4. Discuss how the study of dinosaurs illustrates the procedures of science and use of uniformitarian perspective.
  5. Explain how scientists infer dinosaur behaviour from fossil remains such as bones and trackways.
Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students

Fastovsky, D. E., and Weishampel, D. B., The Evolution and Extinction of Dinosaurs,  latest edition,  Cambridge University Press.



No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent 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
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU GEOL 1XXX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2019/04/30
Langara College (LANG) LANG SCIE 1XXX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2019/04/30
Okanagan College (OC) OC EESC 1XX (3) 2017/09/01 to 2019/04/30
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU EASC 103 (3) 2004/09/01 to 2019/04/30
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU GEOL 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2010/08/31
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU GEOL 1XXX (3) 2010/09/01 to 2019/04/30
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU GEOL 1031 (3) 2011/01/01 to 2019/04/30
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU GEOL 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2010/12/31
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU GEOL 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2019/04/30
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO EESC 1st (3) 2011/09/01 to 2019/04/30
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV EOSC 111 (1) & UBCV EOSC 116 (3) 2004/09/01 to 2019/04/30
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC SCIE 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2019/04/30
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV BIO 1XX (3) 2004/09/01 to 2019/04/30
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC EOS 1XX (1.5) 2004/09/01 to 2019/04/30

Course Offerings

Summer 2021

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