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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Introduction to Paleontology for describing the
amazing wealth of fossils we have collected, and how we can now trace the
evolution of earth's life today going back 10s and 100s of millions of years.

Introduction to Paleontology
Lectures by Professor Stuart Sutherland

Introduction to Paleontology (2016) - 24 lectures, 12 hours
Introduction to Paleontology at TheGreatCourses.com

Produced in partnership with the Smithsonian, this fascinating and visually-stunning course opens brand new doors onto the 4.54 billion-year history of our world.

How did we—not just humans, but all of life, and planet Earth itself—come to be? To find out, you need everything from paleobotany and paleogeography to paleozoology—in short, what you need is the science of paleontology. From recently exposed fossils to new theories about our ancestors, this exciting science is positively exploding with new, game-changing discoveries. In Introduction to Paleontology, you’ll see how new technologies like dispersive x-ray spectroscopy and x-ray computer tomography have joined the tried-and-true backhoe, hammer, and chisel.

Introduction to Paleontology provides a walk back in time through Earth’s history from a lifeless planet to initial bursts of life, from extinctions to life again, and ultimately to our world today. Relying considerably on the National Museum of Natural History‘s curatorial expertise and extensive collections of paleontological fossils, maps, records, and images—with more than 2,500 gorgeous and unique visuals—you’ll see the world as it’s never before been envisioned. Additionally, the expert curators at the Smithsonian helped to shape the structure and content of the course, and reviewed each lecture against the most up-to-date information and understanding of paleontology today.

You’ll watch the continents shift in an infinitesimally slow but never-ending reformation of the globe. You’ll learn about the many times life on Earth has just barely survived mass extinctions and how the planet itself has changed, from a “Snowball Earth,” with ice covering the surface from pole to pole, to life-threatening global heatwaves caused by plumes of hot rocks rising from Earth’s mantle below ancient Siberia. You’ll follow 9 million years of natural selection, witnessing how a land dwelling creature the size of a raccoon living in India 54 million years ago would give rise to a line of marine mammals and, ultimately, Earth’s largest animal. You’ll even have a front-row seat at the 21st century discovery of an extinct species of our own genus, Homo floresiensis, the little people who lived on the island of Flores in the Indonesian archipelago.

Your guide through this revealing new look at Earth’s past, Dr. Stuart Sutherland,Professor of Teaching in the Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver clearly explains in 24 in-depth lectures:

  • how the science of paleontology developed, coalescing information from geology, biology, ecology, anthropology, and archaeology to help us better understand the fascinating and sometimes shocking history of planet Earth
  • the development and use of the tools of paleontology over decades and through many technological breakthroughs
  • how micro- and macro-fossils can reveal information about the minerology, climate, and atmospheric chemistry of the Earth through time, as well as the interrelation of species with their environments
  • how trace fossils can reveal information about a lifeform and its behavior, even if fossilized remains of the lifeform itself are not available
  • why the only way to really understand our world is by considering it as a system composed of interactive parts, not as separate, stand-alone boxes of information

Stuart Sutherland is a Professor of Teaching in the Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, focusing on geology and paleontology, at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Before moving to Canada, he received his Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Leicester, conducted postdoctoral research at the Natural History Museum in London, and earned a teaching degree from Sheffield Hallam University. At UBC, Professor Sutherland has received numerous teaching awards, including the prestigious Killam Teaching Prize.

24 Lectures - 31 minutes each

1: History on a Geological Scale 13: Devonian Death and the Spread of Forests
2: Life Cast in Ancient Stone 14: Life's Greatest Crisis: The Permian
3: Tools of the Paleontological Trade 15: Life's Slow Recovery after the Permian
4: How Do You Fossilize Behavior? 16: Dinosaur Interpretations and Spinosaurus
5: Taxonomy: The Order of Life 17: Whales: Throwing Away Legs for the Sea
6: Minerals and the Evolving Earth 18: Insects, Plants, and the Rise of Flower Power
7: Fossil Timekeepers 19: The Not-So-Humble Story of Grass
8: Fossils and the Shifting Crust 20: Australia's Megafauna: Komodo Dragons
9: Our Vast Troves of Microfossils 21: Mammoths, Mastodons, and the Quest to Clone
10: Ocean Fire and the Origin of Life 22: The Little People of Flores
11: The Ancient Roots of Biodiversity 23: The Neanderthal Among Us
12: Arthropod Rule on Planet Earth 24: Paleontology and the Future of Earth

 


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Introduction to Paleontology
Lectures by Professor Stuart Sutherland

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse Introduction to Paleontology for describing the
amazing wealth of fossils we have collected, and how we can now trace the
evolution of earth's life today going back 10s and 100s of millions of years.