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G411 Invertebrate Paleontology

Fall semester, 2017

Section 30126, 3 credit hours

Course Description:

Application of biological principles and use of invertebrate fossils in the study of Earth’s history; origin of life and the early fossil record; evolution; approaches of taxonomy; chemistry of fossils; ecology of ancient life; use of fossils to measure geologic time. Prerequisites: L105 & G334. May be taken concurrently with G334 Sedimentation and Stratigraphy.

Objectives of the class

Objectives of the course are twofold:

  • To increase your basic knowledge of the diversity of life forms that evolved during billions of years of Earth’s history
  • To gain an appreciation of the theoretical framework for these evolutionary and extinction events. Through lectures, discussions, assigned readings, exercises, and an abundance of analyses with invertebrate fossils, you will be exposed to numerous aspects of paleontology. You will complete the course knowing the issues and debates important to the field.

Class hours

Tues. and Thurs, 1:25-3:20 pm, Geology 522

Field Trip

Sunday, September 10, 8:30 am departure from the Geology building.

Course materials

Required lecture text: Principles of Paleontology, Third Edition by M. Foote and A.I. Miller. Printed materials will be distributed or available on Oncourse. Basic field equipment will be necessary for fieldwork.

Course grade distribution

  • Exercises 35%
  • Midterm Exam 20%
  • Final Exam 20%
  • Field Trip Project 15%
  • In-Class Discussions and Participation 10%

Final Grade Scale: A = 90-100%; B = 80-89%; C = 70-79%; D = 60-69%; F = 59% or lower. Grades of + and – will be assigned. Semester grades are not curved.

Student learning outcomes

Students who pass the course will be able to:

  • summarize the life history of a fossil from death to discovery
  • analyze the role of taphonomy in the evolutionary history of a taxonomic group
  • classify fossils using quantitative measures of characters
  • design a research project using fossils and the scientific method