Introduction to Paleontology

Department: Anthropology 

Instructor: Wendy Maraoka 
Instructor Email: wmuraoka@ucsd.edu
Prerequisites: None

Course Description

In this course, students will learn about the history of life on earth, form the origin of life to the present. We will discuss topics such as evolution, extinction, biologic interactions through time, biodiversity, and the role that environment plays in shaping life on earth. These topics will be explored through hands-on laboratory activities and demonstrations where students will be able to work with fossils and rocks, as well as through field trips to various fossil localities and museums in Southern California, including the San Diego Natural History Museum and the La Brea Tar Pits. Students in this course should have an interest in science and nature, but do not need to have a science background.  As a result of the course, students will have an appreciation for the history and complexity of life on earth, and a better understanding of how the natural world works.

Content and Evaluation

Students will be responsible for material presented in class, as well as for assigned readings from textbook chapters and the primary literature, where appropriate. There will be daily reflective writing assignments, lab assignments, weekly quizzes, and a final project.

Topical Outline

Topics to be disucssed include:

Geologic Time and the Geologic Record

Rock Types and Sedimentary Structures

Modes of Fossil Preservation

The Origin of Life

Evolution

Extinction

History of Marine Life

Evolution of Life on Land

Dinosaurs

Evolution of Mammals

Southern California’s Fossil Record

Human impacts

 

 

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