May 18, 2021
GEOL 1400 - Dinosaurs and the Mesozoic
An introduction to the systematics, anatomy, physiology, ecology, evolution, and extinction of dinosaurs and other Mesozoic life, as well as a review of the science of paleontology and basic Earth history during the Mesozoic including climate, geography, tectonics, mass extinctions, and other major geologic events. The course will begin with an introduction to the sciences of paleontology and geology including an overview of the theories of plate tectonics and evolution, geologic time, relative and absolute age dating, and the fossil record. The history of the science of paleontology will also be explored as well as the different methods and techniques employed by modern paleontologists to ask and answer scientific questions about ancient life including dinosaurs. Topics will then focus on the physical, biological, and chemical conditions of the Mesozoic world and a general introduction to dinosaurs including their classification, anatomy, physiology, and behavior. Three major groups of dinosaurs will be discussed in detail, the Ornithischia, Sauropoda, and Therapoda in addition to other major components of Mesozoic ecosystems including marine reptiles, pterosaurs, mammals, insects, and plants. The course will conclude with an overview of the evolution of terrestrial and marine ecosystems during the Mesozoic and the causes and effects of the end Cretaceous mass extinction.
Credit Hours: 3
General Education Code: 2NS
Repeat/Retake Information: May be retaken two times excluding withdrawals, but only last course taken counts.
Lecture/Lab Hours: 3.0 lecture
Grades: Eligible Grades: A-F,WP,WF,WN,FN,AU,I
- In test responses, students will show a comprehension of the classification of the Dinosauria, be able to identify the major groups of dinosaurs, and understand their evolutionary relationships.
- In written summaries of reading assignments and on exams, students will demonstrate the use of key scientific principles regarding the theory of evolution and the effect of geologic events on life on Earth.
- In written summaries of reading assignments and on exams, students will demonstrate the use of key scientific principles regarding the theory of plate tectonics and the effects of tectonic events on the evolution of the Earth and life.
- Students will apply a logical, problem-solving thought process toward analyzing the evidence for proposed causes and global effects of the end Cretaceous mass extinction.
- Students will be able to apply the methods of relative and absolute age dating in order to correctly determine the sequence and duration of events in Earth history.
- Students will demonstrate knowledge of the major components of terrestrial and marine ecosystems during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous and the Earth conditions (e.g. atmosphere, climate, geography, sea level) under which they existed.
- Students will have the ability to explain the context of the diversification of the Dinosauria and their eventual dominance of terrestrial ecosystems.
- Students will reveal comprehension of the evidence for the evolution of birds from dinosaurs.
- Through the integration of aspects the interplay between geological and paleobiological approaches, students will be able to communicate a broad understanding of basic (e.g. high-school level) scientific principles.
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