BIOL 211
Invertebrate Paleobiology
Last Offered Spring 2007
Division III
Cross-listed BIOL 211 / GEOS 212
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

This course offers an introduction to the study of prehistoric life. The fossils of marine invertebrates provide an excellent foundation for this purpose, because they are widespread and abundant, they are often well-preserved, and they have a record that reaches back in time over 600 million years. The intellectual discovery of fossils as organic relics and the ways in which fossils were used by earlier generations to support conflicting views on nature are briefly surveyed. The lecture topics that follow are organized to illustrate the various directions explored by paleontologists today to solve a broad range of questions. These include: biological and paleontological views on the species concept relevant to taxonomy; ongoing debate over the timing and mechanisms of evolution; biostratigraphy as a means to correlate sedimentary rocks; functional morphology as a means to reconstruct the biomechanics of extinct species; analysis of fossil assemblages to interpret the ecology of ancient environments; paleogeography as related to patterns in biodiversity, and the possible causes of mass extinctions. Laboratory exercises utilize superb fossil collections to study the processes of fossilization and to survey the biology and taxonomy of the major invertebrate phyla.
The Class: Format: lecture/laboratory; field trip to the Lower Devonian Helderbergs of New York State
Limit: none
Expected: 12
Class#: 3775
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on weekly lab reports, a midterm paper, a midterm exam, a lab practicum, and a final exam
Prerequisites: any 100-level Geosciences course or Biology 102 or 203
Distributions: Division III
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
BIOL 211 Division III GEOS 212 Division III
Attributes: MAST Interdepartmental Electives

Class Grid

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