G411 Invertebrate Paleontology

Fall semester, 2015

Section 30981, 3 credit hours

Course Description:

Application of biological principles and use of 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 and 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 and exercises you will be exposed to numerous aspects of paleontology. You will graduate from the class knowing the issues and debates important to the field.

Class hours

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

Field Trip

Saturday September 13, 8:30 am departure

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

  • Exam 1 20%
  • Exam 2 20%
  • Exam 3 25%
  • Exercises 25%, including field trip work
  • Participation in Class Discussions 10%

All exams are cumulative. Graduate students will have an additional responsibility for completion of a semester project; project grade will be included with Exam 3 evaluation. 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 participation

To each lecture session, come prepared to discuss data and concepts from the text and previous lectures. Class hours may be divided among presentation of new material, student-led class discussions, examination of fossils, small research projects. To make class discussions profitable, read the assignments and discuss topics with your friends prior to lecture time. 10% of your final grade will be dependent on quality of responses to questions asked of you during class meetings. You can expect to read one chapter and complete one exercise per week.