Biology of Extinct Animals - Lab
Fall 2007
HJP 1125 Thursday 2:00 - 4:50

Instructor: Dr. John W. Merck, Jr.
Office: Centreville 1218 (M, Tu, W)
Phone: x5-2808, 5-3479
Office Hours: Friday 1:00 - 3:00 (Geology 1119) or by appointment

COURSE ORGANIZATION: One three hour lab per week (Thursday 2:00 to 4:50).

CREDIT: One credit hours. Is intended to be taken concurrently with three credit lecture, BSCI 392. Pre- or corequisite: BSCI392. Formerly: BSCI338W/ZOOL328W. Credit will be granted for only one of the following: BSCI392 or BSCI338W or ZOOL328W.


SYNOPSIS: A companion to Biology of Extinct Animals (BSCI392). This course offers students the opportunity to reconstruct the life-styles of extinct animals from their fossil remains. Throughout the semester, students will use the methodols available to paleobiologists to more fully understand both extinct animals and the the techniques used to study them. The course consists of weekly discussions on basic information and laboratory exercises.



  • 8-30: NO LAB.

  • 9-6: Lab 1 & 2: Introduction to paleobiological methods; Life history attributes of benthic invertebrates.

  • 9-13: Lab 2 & 3: Life history attributes of benthic invertebrates (cont.); Seasonal mortality of benthic invertebrates.

  • 9-20: Lab 4: Analysis of borehole trace fossils.

  • 9-27: Midterm practical I (covers labs 1 - 4);
    Lab 5: Body size relationships: scaling and allometry.

  • 10-4: Lab 6: Tooth morphology and breakage patterns.

  • 10-11: Lab 7: Paleobiology of extinct Carnivora.

  • 10-13: Field Trip to Matoaka Cottages.

  • 10-18: Lab 8: Mass and locomotion speed estimates of dinosaurs.

  • 10-25: Lab 9: Body form and relative drag in trilobites.

  • 11-1: Midterm practical II (covers labs 5 - 8);
    Lab 9: Body form and relative drag in trilobites (cont.).

  • 11-8: Lab 10: Depositional conditions of the Neogene gastropod Turritella plebia.

  • 11-15: Lab 11: Faunal analysis of Miocene mollusks.

  • 11-22: Thanksgiving break - No lab.

  • 11-29: Final practical (cumulative);
    Open lab for completion of term projects.

  • 12-6: Presentation of term projects; (Written report boilerplate.)
    Lab cleanup.

    * The instructor reserves the right to revise this schedule at his most trivial whim.