GEOL 104 Dinosaurs: A Natural History

Fall Semester 2017

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


Aug. 28 Introduction; What are Dinosaurs (version 1.0)?

Aug. 30 The Science of Uncovering the Past & The Meaning of Fossils

Sept. 1 The History of Prehistory: the Great Exposition through Great Expeditions

Sept. 4 LABOR DAY (No classes)

Sept. 6 Pages in the Book of Time: Sedimentary Rocks

Sept. 8 Bones in the Stones: Fossils and Fossilization
Quiz 1 due

Sept. 11 Deep Time: How Old is That Fossil?

Sept. 13 The Living Earth: Plate Tectonics & Ecology

Sept. 15 Our Bodies, Our Selves: Introduction to Vertebrate Osteology

Sept. 18 Taxonomy and Species
Quiz 2 due

Sept. 20 Evolution I: Descent with Modification

Sept. 22 Evolution II: Patterns and Processes

Sept. 25 Systematics I: The Tree of Life

Sept. 27 Systematics II: Cladistics

Sept. 29 Eggs Conquer the Land: Amniote Life Before the Dinosaurs
Quiz 3 due


Oct. 4 The Rise of the Dinosaurs: What is a Dinosaur (version 2.0)?

Oct. 6 Thyreophora: Defense! Defense! Defense!

Oct. 9 Neornithischia I: Thescelosauridae & Ornithopoda: Beaks, bills & crests

Oct. 11 Neornithischia II, Marginocephalia: That's using your head!

Oct. 13 Sauropodomorpha I: Dawn of the Thunder
Quiz 4 due

Oct. 16 Sauropodomorpha II: Neosauropoda: Size Matters and Theropoda I: Basal Theropods

Oct. 18 Theropoda II: Dinosaurs Red in Tooth and Claw

Oct. 20 Theropoda III, Coelurosauria: Tyrant Kings and Lesser Royals

Oct. 23 Theropoda IV, Maniraptora: The Feathered Dinosaurs
Quiz 5 due

Oct. 25 Theropoda V: Rise of Birds

Oct. 27 Dinosaurs Take Wing & The Worlds of Dinosaurs: Dinosaur Paleoecology

Oct. 30 Dinosaurs Without Bones: Trace Fossil Analysis

Nov. 1 Dinosaur Olympics: Locomotion and Dinosaurs in the World of Physics

Nov. 3 Through the Eyes of a Dinosaur: Dinosaur Brains & Senses
Quiz 6 due


Nov. 8 Tyrannosaurus Sex: Dinosaur Social Behavior

Nov. 10 Bringing Up Baby: Dinosaur Families and Growth

Nov. 13 Giants in the Earth: Dinosaur Size
Smithsonian Field Trip Project due

Nov. 15 The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs

Nov. 17 So You Want to Be An Endotherm?
Quiz 7 due

Nov. 20 Dinosaur Physiology Roundup

Nov. 22-24 Thanksgiving Recess: enjoy your roasted maniraptoran

Nov. 27 Bringing Dinosaurs to Life: Paleoart & Molecular Paleontology

Nov. 29 Dragons of the Air: Pterosaurs

Dec. 1 Dragons of the Sea: Mesozoic Marine Sauropsids
Quiz 8 due

Dec. 4 In the Shadow of the Dinosaurs: Mesozoic Mammals & Plants

Dec. 6 The Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction I: All Good Things...

Dec. 8 The Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction II: One REALLY Bad Day!

Dec. 11 The Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction III: End of an Era
Quiz 9 due

Dec. 19 (TUESDAY!!) FINAL EXAM, PLS 1130, 8:00-10:00 am

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

Last modified: 30 June 2017
Detail of "The earliest birds" (featuring Archaeopteryx (left) and Aurornis (right)) by Emily Willoughby, from Callaway (2014) doi: 10.1038/516018a