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Introduction to Paleontology

Department: Scripps Institute of Oceanography

Instructor: Zev Brook
Instructor's Email:
Prerequisites: none
Dates: July 11 - July 29, 2022
Schedule: 9am - 4pm (Lunch from 11:30am - 1:30pm)
Location: Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Room: Vaughan Hall 147

Course Description

Paleontology is the study of ancient life and environments. This class will be a specimen-based introduction to paleontology as a scientific field, and to the history of life on Earth through the geologic record. Paleontology offers up unique challenges (most organisms die without becoming fossils), but also unique opportunities (without fossils, we would never know that something like T. rex existed!). We will learn how to ask the kinds of questions that fossils can answer, and how to read those answers the way paleontologists do. No science background is necessary — the only prerequisite is curiosity about the natural world. 

Course Goals / Learning Objective

Students will understand how to apply the scientific method to a historical science through critical thinking. Students will become familiar with the history of life on Earth, its general trends, and its geologic record. Students will assess how evolutionary biology and paleoecology shed light on questions about modern biodiversity and ecology. 

Course Topics

  • Paleontology
  • Geology
  • Evolutionary Biology