Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus
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 two distinctly different trilobite faunas that lived on opposite sides of the Transcontinental Arch in the Early Ordovician. In the process, they learn the strengths and weaknesses of several widely used similarity coefficients and come to appreciate the many factors (difference in taxonomic grade, stratigraphic imprecision, relative sample sizes, etc.) that can strongly influence them. Most importantly, they are challenged to consider multiple, competing hypotheses to explain strong taxonomic contrasts reflected in low values for these indices, and are required to select the most geologically reasonable explanation based on all available information, both paleontological and non-paleontological.
A basic trilobite morphometric exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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, and then use a similar data set and graphic plots to discriminate three different species of an Upper Cambrian trilobite genus
Paleontology part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Courses