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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Forensic Paleontology part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students examine and sketch a dead animal, discovering as much as possible about it.

Paleobiology Database Activity for Historical Geology part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This laboratory exercise uses the Paleobiology Database to examine the relationships between continental position, sea-level and distribution of life through time.

Silurian Biostratigraphy and Paleoecology Lab part of 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 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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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, ...

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Paleoecology: An Evolutionary Arms Race part of 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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A basic trilobite morphometric exercise part of Activities
A lab exercise and follow-up classroom activity in which students measure some trilobite specimens, evaluate the statistical significance of differences documented in data acquired for two different populations, ...

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Relative Geologic Time and the Geologic Time Scale part of Activities
Group simulation of the development of the geologic time scale illustrating concepts of correlation and relative time. Extremely effective for teaching the significance of the geologic time scale.

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Creature Features - Showcase of Living Fossils part of 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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Paleoecology Lab part of 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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Layer Cake Geology part of 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 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 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 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 ...

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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 ...

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Life Mode Characteristics part of 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 Activities
Students investigate the intelligence of dinosaurs by comparing the relative size of brain and body mass to living animals.

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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 ...

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

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

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