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Invertebrate Paleontology

Todd Radenbaugh
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University of Regina (Todd is now at University of Alaska, Fairbanks)
Course Summary
This is a classic evolution-and-fossils kind of course. Students go through major invertebrate groups, examine and interpret fossils and assemblages. Rather than approach the whole world chronologically, the course covers each lineage one-at-a-time. The site is rich in photographs and informational links.

Course Context:

This is a 200-level geology class.

Course Goals:

This class will:
  • Familiarize students with major invertebrate groups and their history
  • Deal with the interpretation of fossils and assemblages
  • Present an overview of evolution and related issues like biogeography

Course Content:

Topics covered in this course include:
  • Evolution
  • Fossils, preservation, and interpretation
  • The origin of life
  • The Burgess Shale
  • Major invertebrate lineages
  • Coordinated stasis

Teaching Materials:

This web site contains:
  • A course syllabus (mostly schedule)
  • Numerous photos of student activities and field sites
  • A library of student projects (autecology of various taxa done on a field trip)
  • An annotated links list
  • Instructions for the research paper

Assessment:

Grading for this course is based on exams, a research paper, class/labwork and participation.

References and Notes:

The textbook (Levin, H., 1999, Ancient Invertebrates and Their Living Relatives, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0-13-748955-2) is $70 from the publisher and includes a guide for identifying fossils as well as the relevant instructional material for a course like the one described above.