GEOL 331/BSCI 333 Principles of Paleontology

Fall Semester 2018

The Early Cretaceous reef-forming rudist clam Eoradiolites at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science


Aug. 28 Introduction to the Course: What Good is the Fossil Record?
Reading: Chap. 1

Aug. 30 Taphonomy: Making a Fossil Record
Reading: Chap. 1
LAB: Fossilization & Taphonomy

Sept. 4 Biostratigraphy
Reading: Chap. 1

Sept. 6 Trace Fossils
Reading: Chap. 19
LAB: Micropaleontology

Sept. 11 Variation & Fossil Individuals
Reading: Chap. 2
PaleoDB Homework due

Sept. 13 Fossil Species & Alpha Taxonomy
Reading: Chap. 3
LAB: Sponges & Corals
Lab Quiz 1

Sept. 18 Macroevolution in the Fossil Record
Reading: Chap. 5
Biostratigraphy Homework Due

Sept. 20 Cladistics & Phylogenetic Inference
Reading: Chap. 4
Online Reading: Cladistics for Palaeontologists from the Paleontological Association: Introduction, Cladistic Characters, Tree-Building, Optimization
LAB: Bryozoans
Lab Quiz 2


Sept. 27 Archean Fossils & Life's Origins
Reading: Chap. 8
Alpha Taxonomy Homework Due
LAB: Brachiopods
Lab Quiz 3

Oct. 2 Fossil Protists and Metazoan Origins I
Reading: Chap. 12

Oct. 4 Metazoan Origins II; Sponges
Reading: Chap. 13
LAB: Gastropods & Cephalopods
Lab Quiz 4

Oct. 9 Overview of Animal Phylogeny & Cnidarians
Reading: Chap. 14
Phylogenetic Analysis Homework Due

Oct. 11 Ediacaran Metazoans & the Cambrian Explosion
Reading: Chap. 13
Online Reading: Ciunningham et al. 2017. BioEssays 39:1-12. doi:10.1002/bies.201600120
LAB: Bivalves
Lab Quiz 5

Oct. 16 PANOPTO LECTURE ONLINE (Do Not Meet In Class): Mollusca I
Reading: Chap. 16

Oct. 18 PANOPTO LECTURE ONLINE (Do Not Meet In Class): Mollusca II
Reading: Chap. 16

Oct. 23 Animals with Lophophores: Bryozoans & Brachiopods
Reading: Chap. 14

Oct. 25 Basal Panarthropoda
Reading: Chap. 15
LAB: Arthropods
Lab Quiz 6


Nov. 1 Arthropoda I
Reading: Chap. 15
LAB: "Pelmatozoans"
Lab Quiz 7

Nov. 6 Arthropoda II
Reading: Chap. 15
Phylogenetic Inferences Homework Due
MIDTERM ELECTIONS: Are you registered to vote? Do you need to vote with an absentee ballot? Get ready in advance

Nov. 8 Basal Deuterostomes; Echinodermata I
Reading: Chap. 17
LAB: Eleutherozoans, Hemichordates (incl. Graptolithina)
Lab Quiz 8

Nov. 13 Echinodermata II
Reading: Chap. 17

Nov. 15 Chordates & Vertebrate Paleontology
Reading: Chap. 18
Paleoecology Homework Due
LAB: Field trip to the National Museum of Natural History

Nov. 20 Paleobotany
Reading: Chap. 20

Nov. 21-23 THANKSGIVING RECESS: Enjoy your roasted dinosaur

Nov. 27 Biomechanics & Morphometrics
Reading: Chap. 7

Nov. 29 Paleoecology & Paleoenvironments
Reading: Chap. 8
Paleontology Potpourri Homework Due
LAB: Vertebrate Paleontology
Lab Quiz 9

Dec. 4 Macroecological Patterns: Large-Scale Phenomena of the Fossil Record
Reading: Chap. 6

Dec. 6 The Future of Paleontology
LAB: Paleobotany
Lab Quiz 10

Dec. 13 (THURSDAY!!) FINAL EXAM, JMZ 1120, 8:00-10:00 am

For a formatted printable copy of the complete syllabus, click here.

Last modified: 20 August 2018
Permineralized conifer wood of the Upper Triassic Chinle Formation from Petrified Forest National Park