Biology of Extinct Animals - Lab
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.
PRE/COREQ: BSCI 392.
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.
- Two midterm lab practicals (50 points each)
- Final practical (100 points)
- Project oral presentation (50 points)
- Project written presentation (100 points)
- (Total points - 350)
- Midterm and final practicals: Each midterm practical covers roughly half of the course material. The final practical is cumulative. They contain both illustrations of extinct animals and data from extant and extinct animals from which you will be required to make paleobiological inferences. The practicals also include questions about methodologies, inferences, and reconstructions in the readings from the featured research book.
- Research project: During the course of the semester you will also be working individually, or in small groups, on reconstructions of the life history attributes of a local fossil invertebrate. At the end of the semester, each group will make an oral presentation of their results to the class, and also submit a written summary of their research. The oral presentation is worth 50 points, and the written paper is worth 100 points.
- Practical Scores: Each practical is scored using a standard 100 point scale. Each will be curved to make the median score equal to 81 provided this does not result in the lowering of original scores.
- Absences: Lab attendance is imperative, as it is profoundly difficult to make up missed labs or practicals. If you know that you are going to be absent, please notify the instructor in advance. Absolutely no provision will be attempted for make-up work if you do not contact the isntructor within one week of missing a lab. Parcticals simply cannot be made up.
- Academic Accommodations: If you have a documented disability, you should contact Disability Support Services 0126 Shoemaker Hall.Ê Each semester students with documented disabilities should apply to DSS for accommodation request forms which you can provide to your professors as proof of your eligibility for accommodations. The rules for eligibility and the types of accommodations a student may request can be reviewed on the DSS web site
- Religious Observances: The University System of Maryland policy provides that students should not be penalized because of observances of their religious beliefs, students shall be given an opportunity, whenever feasible, to make up within a reasonable time any academic assignment that is missed due to individual participation in religious observances. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor of any intended absences for religious observances in advance. Notice should be provided as soon as possible but no later than the end of the schedule adjustment period. Faculty should further remind students that prior notification is especially important in connection with final exams, since failure to reschedule a final exam before the conclusion of the final examination period may result in loss of credits during the semester. The problem is especially likely to arise when final exams are scheduled on Saturdays.
- Dishonesty: The Student Honor Council observes that, "The University of Maryland, College Park has a nationally recognized Code of Academic Integrity, administered by the Student Honor Council. This Code sets standards for academic integrity at Maryland for all undergraduate and graduate students. As a student you are responsible for upholding these standards for this course. It is very important for you to be aware of the consequences of cheating, fabrication, facilitation, and plagiarism. For more information on the Code of Academic Integrity or the Student Honor Council, please visit http://www.studenthonorcouncil.umd.edu/whatis.html."
Thus, in BSCI393, work submitted under your name must be exclusively your own. Any evidence of dishonesty on any graded assignment will result in a referral to the Office of Student Conduct, whereupon your life will become very interesting, indeed. Have a nice day.
Lab 1 & 2: Introduction to paleobiological methods; Life history attributes of benthic invertebrates.
Lab 2 & 3: Life history attributes of benthic invertebrates (cont.); Seasonal mortality of benthic invertebrates.
Lab 4: Analysis of borehole trace fossils.
Midterm practical I (covers labs 1 - 4);
Lab 5: Body size relationships: scaling and allometry.
Lab 6: Tooth morphology and breakage patterns.
Lab 7: Paleobiology of extinct Carnivora.
Field Trip to Matoaka Cottages.
Lab 8: Mass and locomotion speed estimates of dinosaurs.
Lab 9: Body form and relative drag in trilobites.
Midterm practical II (covers labs 5 - 8);
Lab 9: Body form and relative drag in trilobites (cont.).
Lab 10: Depositional conditions of the Neogene gastropod Turritella plebia.
Lab 11: Faunal analysis of Miocene mollusks.
Thanksgiving break - No lab.
Final practical (cumulative);
Open lab for completion of term projects.
Presentation of term projects; (Written report boilerplate.)
* The instructor reserves the right to revise this schedule at his most trivial whim.