Paleobiology Database Activity for Historical Geology
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.
This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Jul 31, 2009
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Explore changes in biodiversity through time in different groups of animals.
Investigate the relationship between tectonics and faunal migration
Identification of potential biases in the fossil record
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Synthesis of geographic and faunal data.
Other skills goals for this activity
Map and graph interpretation.
Downloading and using online data.
Description of the activity/assignment
Animal migration is illustrated using ungulate and horse fossil distributions. For example, students create maps that plot the location of horse fossils in the Oligocene, Middle Miocene, Late Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene. By doing so, students are able to constrain the timing of the formation of the Panama land bridge. This exercise reinforces the importance of the relationship between continental configuration and animal migration over geologic time scales.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment:Student Packet - Paleobiology Database Lab (Microsoft Word 179kB Jul31 09)
- Instructors Notes:Instructor'sNotes - Paleobiology Database Lab (Microsoft Word 27kB Jul31 09)
- Solution Set: