This course will involve 2 hours/week of direct lectures; 2 hours of lab in which students will directly examine fossil samples or work with specific interpretive problems; and 2 hours of seminar in which instructor and students will discuss key topics, view slide or film presentations, or work on individual projects. Field trips will be scheduled when appropriate. Readings will be assigned to supplement the lectures.
- Defining fossils
- Fossilization types
- Taxonomy, classification and systematics
- Taphonomic theory and examples
- Individuals and populations
- Precambrian organisms
- The rise of animals with hard parts
- Marine Invertebrates of the Paleozoic
- Land plants and their origins
- Paleozoic vertebrates
- Marine Invertebrates of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic
- Mesozoic vertebrates
- Cenozoic vertebrates
- Reconstructing lifestyles: form and function
- The mechanisms of evolution
- The record of evolution
- Paleoenvironmental reconstruction
- Fossils and sedimentary rocks
- Trace fossils
Upon successful completion of this course the student should be able to:
- Use a variety of means to identify and classify a wide variety of fossils.
- Describe and provide examples of taphonomic theory.
- Describe the major changes in life through geologic time and the evidence used to support the interpretation(s) of the fossil record.
- Show an understanding of how the principles of Biostratigraphy are used to reconstruct ancient environments.
- Show an understanding of the mechanisms of evolution.
- Show an understanding of how fossils can be used to reconstruct tectonic plate boundaries.
- Describe the uses of trace fossils and be able to identify a variety of trace fossils.
|Lab paper / Project||20%|
|Lab exercises (5, bi-weekly)||25%|
Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students
Stearn, Colin W. and Robert L. Carroll (1989), Paleontology: The Record of Life. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York.