Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology (Coursera)

Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology (Coursera)
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Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology (Coursera)
Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology is a 12-lesson course teaching a comprehensive overview of non-avian dinosaurs. Topics covered: anatomy, eating, locomotion, growth, environmental and behavioral adaptations, origins and extinction. Lessons are delivered from museums, fossil-preparation labs and dig sites. Estimated workload: 3-5 hrs/week.

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Syllabus


WEEK 1

Appearance and Anatomy

This lesson covers the diversity in dinosaur appearances, and will be able to identify major features of the major groups of dinosaurs.


WEEK 2

Death and Fossilization

This module describes how fossils form, how we interpret the taphonomy of skeletons and bonebeds, and looks at the possible biases taphonomic events may create in the fossil record.


WEEK 3

Eating

This module looks at the variety of food types, feeding habits, and feeding adaptations amongst the major groups of dinosaurs.


WEEK 4

Moving Around

This module helps students understand the general modes and styles of locomotion in the major dinosaur groups. It also describes general methods of evaluating hypotheses on locomotion.


WEEK 5

Birth, Growth and Reproduction

This module provides a generalized life history of a dinosaur, from birth through adulthood, including reproduction. The student will be able to describe major techniques of evaluating growth stages and rates in dinosaurs.


WEEK 6

Attack and Defense

Examines the behaviours and structures that may have served for attack or defence through the lifetime of a dinosaur.


WEEK 7

What is a Species?

This module will teach the different ways of defining what a species is. Students will be able to compare the strengths and weaknesses of different species concepts for different situations.


WEEK 8

Evolution

This module will describe the basic theories of speciation, and discusses how how these different methods of speciation may have occurred, including both hypothetical and empirical examples.


WEEK 9

Stratigraphy and Geologic Time

This method provides basic stratigraphic concepts and the scale of earth history. Students will understand the evolution of dinosaurs through time, including which groups evolved when and where.


WEEK 10

Paleogeography and Plate Tectonics

This module presents the basic concepts in plate tectonics and the evolution of the earth’s surface.


WEEK 11

Dinosaur Origins

This module will look at the evolution of dinosaurs from non-dinosaurian archosaurs.


WEEK 12

Dinosaur Extinction

The module will examine the end-Cretaceous extinction event, and provide examples of vertebrate groups that both persisted and died out during the event.



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