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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Clam Dissection part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Dissecting a living clam to see how soft parts and life mode can be reconstructed from the preserved shells. Note: clams are purchased at a local market.

Fossils in Context: creating your own fossiliferous 'limestone' part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Our museum collection is full of loose, individual, beautiful fossils of marine invertebrates. I try to get students to understand that most fossils they might actually find in the field are locked in rock, and ...

Field Lab - Ecosystem and Paleoenvironment analysis part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students collect from two Devonian field sites. The goal is to determine the depositional environment and whether these are life or death assemblages.

Graphic Correlation part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
The objective of this exercise is to acquaint you with a simple graphic method that can be used to: determine changes in sediment accumulation rate, evaluate the completeness of different sections and environments, ...

Bioturbation Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students are given data for three unidentified hypothetical environments and asked to determine the relative effects of mixed layer thickness, sediment accumulation rate, and bioturbation rate based on a simple ...

Random Walks, Evolutionary Trends, and Branching Models of Diversification part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students are exposed to the concept of random walk and how stochastic processes can be applied to constrain interpretation of diversity trends through geologic time.

A paleobiogeography exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this exercise, students are guided through a quantitative comparison of taxonomically distinct Jurassic Ammonite faunas from five different accreted terranes in western North America, and a similar evaluation of ...

Taphonomy Experiment part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This is a semester-long project the students design and run themselves. They come up with an original question relating to taphonomic processes and design an experiment to test their hypotheses. At the end of the ...

An Exploratory Activity in Marine Diversity Analysis part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This activity introduces students to the Sepkoski database of fossil invertebrates through guided use of online access to the compendium. The activity calls for data analysis and display as well as student response ...

Graphic Correlation Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This is a graphic correlation lab exercise. It builds quantitative skills. It also gives students practice interpreting data and drawing geological and biological conclusions.

phenogram construction part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This is a simple exercise where students construct a phenogram using a collection of different fossils or random objects.

Describing Fossils part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Make a line drawing of a brachiopod from a published description. Formally describe a brachiopod specimen. Identify specimens from descriptions written by other students.

Biostratigraphic and Lithostratigraphic Correlation of Sedimentary Strata in the Atlantic Coastal Plain part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this laboratory exercise students work in groups to create a fence diagram cross section of the Atlantic Coastal Plain by correlating a sequence of well logs recorded along a NWSE transect through coastal ...

Fossil Collection and Museum Curation part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This assignment requires the collection of an individual fossil with appropriate supplimentary information in the field, identification of fossil, and exposes students to museum curation.

Fossil Identification and Classification Lab part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In four lab sessions, students pick fossils from Pleistocene bulk sediment, identify taxa, compile a faunal list, and interpret environments. Strength of the exercise is hands-on experience with fossils, directly ...

Rarefaction Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
An a diverse assemblage of modern gastropods provides a data set for students to learn about sampling protocols, rarefaction and diversity indices.

Quaternary Paleoecology and Climate Change, Bladen County, NC part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Interpretation of Quaternary pollen record from Carolina Bay lakes in southeastern NC. This records goes back to the last interglacial and shows how much climate has changed vegetation even in this unglaciated ...

Niche Partitioning in Silurian Tabulate Corals part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this group lab activity, students read a journal article, and then duplicate the article's measurements on a Silurian tabulate coral head. Students must evaluate their data in light of the journal ...

Introduction to Skeletons part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This lab presents a specimen-based study of the different skeletal systems of animals and plants. The emphasis is on understanding the functional roles mineralized skeletons play in the major skeletonzied phyla ...

How do cladistics work? Generating phylogenetic trees using everyday objects. part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This lab activity is intended to introduce students to concepts of homology and evolutionary characters, and to help them understand how cladistic analyses are performed. The activity begins with generating a ...

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