Fall Semester 2020
Course #12498 TR 11:15A - 12:05P 3 cr.
Location: Online
IUB GenEd N&M credit – Natural Science; COLL (CASE) N&M Breadth of Inquiry credit.

This course explores the origin and evolution of vertebrates including dinosaurs and their distant relatives, such as fish, amphibians, birds and mammals. The course will focus on dinosaur evolution, paleobiology, paleoecology, and extinction. The scientific method, and quantitative and qualitative methodologies will be presented. Two lectures and one demonstration each week.


The objectives of the lecture and laboratory sessions are to increase your understanding of three major themes:

  1. the origin and evolution of vertebrates, including dinosaurs and their distant relatives the fish, amphibians and amniotes, and their recent relatives the birds;
  2. geography and climate of the Earth during the evolution of these groups but especially during the time of the dinosaurs and birds; and
  3. dinosaur classification, phylogeny, evolution, paleobiology, paleoecology and extinction.

Through the lecture and lab exercises you will gain an increased awareness of successful evolutionary pathways, as well as mass extinction events that occurred through the dynamic history of our planet. The objectives of the course will be achieved if you remember facts, understand the meaning of the material presented, apply your knowledge to solving geologic problems, and analyze topics by breaking them down and understanding the relationship among the parts.


You will have practice in each of these steps during both lecture and lab.

Your ultimate goal is to gain skills necessary to synthesize and evaluate information pertaining to dinosaurs and their distant relatives long after the course has been completed.