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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Cladogram Construction and Vertebrate Phylogeny part of 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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Fossil/modern mole phylogeny part of 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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Taxonomy & Phylogeny: Building and Comparing a Taxonomy and Phylogeny of Bivalve Mollusks part of 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, ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Create a Cladogram part of Activities
Create a cladogram using nails,screws, and bolts. Teaches students not familar with paleontology about cladistics using items most students have seen before.

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

Field Project: Fossil Collection, Identification, and Report Writing part of Activities
The primary purposes of this exercise are to assemble a collection of fossils in the field, to gain experience in fossil identification, to interpret the mode of life and environment in which the organisms lived, ...

Describing Fossils part of 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.

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

Fossil Collection and Museum Curation part of 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 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 ...

Systematics of some enigmatic "fossils" part of 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 ...

Trial by fire in the vertebrate graveyard part of Activities
Students work through a series of stations displaying isolated bones, and answer short-answer questions designed to introduce them to formulating and defending hypotheses concerning anatomical and taxonomic ...

What is a paleontological species? part of 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.

Fossil Identification Project part of Activities
The students collected 20 fossil taxa from 5 different locations and 3 different geological periods. They identified the taxa and summarize the paleoenvironmental information about their localities in a powerpoint ...

Microfossils Lab (Labs 2 and 4) part of Activities
Lab assignment in which students examine different types of microfossils and pick condont elements and foraminifera from sediments and then photograph their specimens using the SEM

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

Cladistics part of Activities
This is the third in a series of exercises in Cladistics for students. The first two are simpler, because they are planned to "work out." This one requires students to grapple with choosing characters ...

Evolution in Your "Pet" Group part of 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 ...

How do cladistics work? Generating phylogenetic trees using everyday objects. part of 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 ...

Cladistics part of Activities
lab assignments intended to teach the basics of reading phylogenetic diagrams and parsimony optimization.

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