Course introduction and basic issues
The grand summation:
The Tree of Life from DK Images.
- Not believe that it is real
- Accept it as revealed wisdom from trusted authority figures but not really understand it.
The purpose of HONR219D is to:
- show you that it is real
- enable you to see evolution from a specialist's perspective
- give you the tools critically to test hypotheses of evolutionary history.
- Make you aware of the subtle connections between individual development and species evolution.
To accomplish this we will:
- Focus on the pattern of evolution, the Tree of Life connecting the diversity of living things, focusing on vertebrates.
- Consider how traditional systems of taxonomy may distort our view of that pattern
- Learn and use the same techniques employed by evolutionary scientists to illuminate the pattern of evolution
- Explore the Tree of Vertebrate Life in some detail
- Identify the connections between the pattern of evolution and other biological disciplines, particularly focusing on "evo-devo," the link between evolution and embryology.
Warnings and caveats:
- In this course, the reality of evolution is considered a given. There are other courses that introduce the topic, including BSCI106.
- The course is not about dinosaurs. In fact, we pretty much ignore them. If you want dinosaurs, you should take GEOL104 or the new GEOL204 - Dinosaurs, Early Humans, Ancestors, and Evolution; The Fossil Record of Vanished Worlds of the Prehistoric Past.
- Don't be babies. Just because we will be learning to use the tools of specialists doesn't mean that it will be HARD. The wonder and glory is that it actually isn't.
- Abandon your prejudices about which animals are important. Example.
- Embrace details, even when it isn't absolutely necessary. Often, these are what make the information interesting. Example.
Some starting points:
- Review the Scientific Method.
- Pet peeves with the Linnean System of Taxonomy.
- Issue 1: How can evolution and extinction be the same thing?
- Issue 2: Being in the "Family" way.
- Issue 3: How is the Linnean System Science.