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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Fossil/modern mole phylogeny part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students code characters from fossil taxa to add to an existing morphological phylogenetic analysis of moles. This activity is original research; the fossil taxa have never before been included in a phylogenetic ...

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Paleoecological exercise: Testing competition among Paleozoic brachiopods part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This lab activity tests the hypothesis that competition has resulted in niche partitioning among four species of brachiopods.

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Cladogram Construction and Vertebrate Phylogeny part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students are given pictures of a variety of extant vertebrates. They work in groups to determine which animals are most closely related. Following a series of clicker questions and a discussion of the ...

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Creature Features - Showcase of Living Fossils part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This activity connects the fossil record to biodiversity in the Recent by having students present on a "living fossil" group. The exercise is useful in demonstrating evolutionary stasis, reminding ...

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When Pond Scum Ruled the Earth - The Proterozoic Fossil Record part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this specimen-based activity, students examine microfossils and stromatolites and build an understanding of the Proterozoic paleontological record.

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Paleoecology Lab part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This activity gives students practice in identifying fossils in the context of assemblages and allows them to make paleoecological interpretations.

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Taxonomy & Phylogeny: Building and Comparing a Taxonomy and Phylogeny of Bivalve Mollusks part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This is a two-part exercise that introduces the principles and methods behind taxonomy and phylogenetics. In part I, students, by describing the morphology of various species of modern and fossil bivalve mollusks, ...

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Paleoecology: An Evolutionary Arms Race part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this activity, students divide into groups of 4-5, fine-tune a hypothesis relating to escalation, collect data to test this hypothesis using mollusks from local Yorktown deposits (Pliocene), analyze these data, ...

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Layer Cake Geology part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This activity visually introduces students to the idea of geologic time and the correlation between time, rock layers and fossils. It uses the familiar, relevant example of cake but teaches important concepts such ...

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Measuring Dinosaur Speed from Trackways part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This activity demonstrates how measurements taken from fossil trackways can be used to estimate the speed at which extinct animals were moving when they made the trackways, providing students the opportunity to ...

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Interpreting Fossil Assemblages part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This assignment is a synthesis of many of the skills learned throughout the course from taxonomic identification to paleoecological interpretations.

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Systematics of some enigmatic "fossils" part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students and instructor work through a guided exercise to construct a character matrix and cladograms describing relationships between different types of paper clips. Students then break into small groups to ...

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What is a paleontological species? part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this specimen-based activity, students study ischyromyid rodent molar cusp morphology and develop their understanding of the morphological species concept as applied in paleontology.

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Life Mode Characteristics part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This exercise provides a standardized format that can be used to describe the life mode and its characteristics for most any organism or group of organisms.

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Are You Smarter Than a Dinosaur? part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students investigate the intelligence of dinosaurs by comparing the relative size of brain and body mass to living animals.

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Caminalcule Phylogenetic Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Imaginary creatures (caminalcues) are used as an introduction to the methods, assumptions, and conclusions of phylogenetic analysis.

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Evolution in Your "Pet" Group part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This writing exercise asks students to use library resources to locate a peer-reviewed journal article that describes research on the evolution of their individual "pet" taxonomic group. After reading the ...

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Capstone Research Project: Holocene History of Estuarine Environmental Change part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This is a collaborative, semester-long research project that students conduct as their capstone activity for the course. The project is designed to be comprehensive and apply numerous concepts, topical units, and ...

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Silurian Biostratigraphy and Paleoecology Lab part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Explores paleoecologic and biostratigraphic uses of graptolites and brachiopods. Exercise is based on Silurian Great Britain data/interpretations published by Ziegler et al., 1968. It illustrates litho- and ...

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Investigation of micropaleontological and paleomagnetic data part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Micropaleontological and paleomagnetic data are investigated to construct an integrated biomagnetostratigrahic age model for an Ocean Drilling Program site. Investigation emphasizes the complementary nature of ...

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