GEOL 104 Dinosaurs: A Natural History

Fall Semester 2018

The Late Cretaceous dinosaurs Tyrannosaurus (left) and Triceratops (right) at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles


Aug. 27 Introduction; What are Dinosaurs (version 1.0)?

Aug. 29 The Science of Uncovering the Past & The Meaning of Fossils

Aug. 31 The History of Prehistory: the Great Exposition through Great Expeditions
Pre-Course Survey due

Sept. 3 LABOR DAY (No classes)

Sept. 5 Pages in the Book of Time: Sedimentary Rocks

Sept. 7 Bones in the Stones: Fossils and Fossilization
Quiz 1 due

Sept. 10 Deep Time: How Old is That Fossil?

Sept. 12 Fossils from the Field to the Museum

Sept. 14 The Living Earth: Plate Tectonics & Ecology

Sept. 17 Our Bodies, Our Selves: Introduction to Vertebrate Osteology
Quiz 2 due

Sept. 19 Taxonomy and Species

Sept. 21 Evolution I: Descent with Modification

Sept. 24 Evolution II: Patterns and Processes and Systematics I: The Tree of Life

Sept. 26 Systematics II: Cladistics

Sept. 28 Eggs Conquer the Land: Amniote Life Before the Dinosaurs
Quiz 3 due


Oct. 3 The Rise of the Dinosaurs: What is a Dinosaur (version 2.0)?

Oct. 5 Thyreophora: Defense! Defense! Defense!

Oct. 8 Neornithischia I: Thescelosauridae & Ornithopoda: Beaks, bills & crests

Oct. 10 Neornithischia II, Marginocephalia: That's using your head!

Oct. 12 Sauropodomorpha I: Dawn of the Thunder
Quiz 4 due

Oct. 15 Sauropodomorpha II: Neosauropoda: Size Matters and Theropoda I: Basal Theropods

Oct. 17 PANOPTO LECTURE ONLINE (Do Not Meet In Class): Theropoda II: Dinosaurs Red in Tooth and Claw

Oct. 19 PANOPTO LECTURE ONLINE (Do Not Meet In Class): Theropoda III, Coelurosauria: Tyrant Kings and Lesser Royals

Oct. 22 Theropoda IV, Maniraptora: The Feathered Dinosaurs
Quiz 5 due

Oct. 24 Theropoda V: Rise of Birds

Oct. 26 Dinosaurs Take Flight

Oct. 29 The Worlds of Dinosaurs & Dinosaurs Without Bones: Trace Fossil Analysis

Oct. 31 Dinosaur Olympics: Locomotion and Dinosaurs in the World of Physics
Quiz 6 due

Nov. 2 Through the Eyes of a Dinosaur: Dinosaur Brains & Senses


Nov. 6 MIDTERM ELECTIONS: Are you registered to vote? Do you need to vote with an absentee ballot? Get ready in advance

Nov. 7 Tyrannosaurus Sex: Dinosaur Social Behavior

Nov. 9 Bringing Up Baby: Dinosaur Families and Growth

Nov. 12 Giants in the Earth: Dinosaur Size
Smithsonian Field Trip Project due

Nov. 14 The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs

Quiz 7 due

Nov. 16 So You Want to Be An Endotherm?
Quiz 7 due

Nov. 19 Dinosaur Physiology Roundup

Nov. 21-23 Thanksgiving Recess: enjoy your roasted maniraptoran

Nov. 26 Bringing Dinosaurs to Life: Paleoart & Molecular Paleontology

Nov. 28 Dragons of the Sea & Air
Quiz 8 due

Nov. 30 In the Shadow of the Dinosaurs: Mesozoic Mammals & Plants

Dec. 3 The Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction I: All Good Things...

Dec. 5 The Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction II: One REALLY Bad Day!

Dec. 7 The Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction III: End of an Era

Dec. 10 Legacy of the Dinosaurs
Quiz 9 due
Post-Course Survey due

Dec. 18 (TUESDAY!!) FINAL EXAM, PLS 1130, 8:00-10:00 am

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

Last modified: 7 August 2018
Detail of "The earliest birds" (featuring Archaeopteryx (left) and Aurornis (right)) by Emily Willoughby, from Callaway (2014) doi: 10.1038/516018a