Skip to main content

Introduction to Paleontology

Instructor: Zev Brook
Instructor Emails: zebrook@ucsd.edu
Dates: July 10 - July 29, 2023
Schedule: TBD

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!). In both the laboratory and on field trips, we will learn how to ask the kinds of questions that fossils can answer, and how to read those answers the way paleontologists do.

Learning Outcomes

  • 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 biodiversity and ecology.

Course Topics

  • Paleontology
  • Geology
  • Evolutionary biology

*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.