World of the Dinosaurs (ESCI 207)

Fall Semester 2010

Lectures:     Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00‑11:50 a.m. in Patterson Hall 117

Class text:    Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History, by Fastovsky and Weishampel

Instructor: Dr. Timothy H. Heaton, Chair and Professor of Earth Sciences and Physics

       Office:             Patterson Hall 132D (inside the Earth Sciences department office)

       Office hours:    Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 2:00-4:00 p.m. or whenever available

       Office phone:   677‑6122          E‑mail address:        timothy.heaton@usd.edu

       Dept. phone:    677‑5649          Course home page:   http://people.usd.edu/~theaton/dinosaur

Catalog Description: The origin, evolution, diversity, physiology, and extinction of the dinosaurs. Primarily for non-majors.

Course Content: This course will cover all aspects of the dinosaurs, including the many controversies surrounding them. We will follow the textbook closely as outlined in the class schedule. The first few chapters cover general principles of interpreting the past using fossils. The middle chapters cover the individual groups of dinosaurs. The final chapters consider dinosaur biology and extinction. Several videos will be included in the course.

Exams: There will be a 50-point quiz, two 100‑point hour exams, and a 150-point final exam as shown on the class schedule. The exams will feature a variety of question types. Make‑up exams will be by prearrangement or emergency circumstances only. The final exam will be given only at the scheduled time. The textbook should be used as a study guide, and the Topic Questions at the end of each chapter will be useful in studying for the exams.

World Wide Web component: The instructor has written a practice exam editor for the World Wide Web that will be used in the course. There will also be an open-book Web quiz of about ten questions for each text chapter, and quiz scores will be added to the exams as part of the point total. Also, each student will receive one point of extra credit per chapter by submitting a practice question on that chapter's material for the rest of the class to use. Quizzes and chapter submissions are due before we begin the next chapter in lecture. Web features are available from the course home page at http://people.usd.edu/~theaton/dinosaur.

Grading: Scores will be available after each exam on the course home page using a confidential grade viewer. Final grades will be calculated based on point totals according to the following scale:

            A: 90‑100%,  B: 80‑89%,  C: 70‑79%,  D: 60‑69%,  F: 59% and below.

College Cheating Policy: No credit can be given for a dishonest assignment. At the discretion of the instructor, a student caught engaging in any form of academic dishonesty may be: a. given a zero for that assignment, b. allowed to rewrite and resubmit the assignment for credit, c. assigned a reduced grade for the course, d. dropped from the course, or e. failed in the course.

Disabilities: If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Director of the Office of Disability Services (Service Center 199; 677-6389) as early as possible in the semester.

Study habits: The exam scores in this course generally have a very wide spread, often from the twenties through the nineties. Part of this may be due to different aptitudes for science, but the primary reason is different levels of commitment and different study habits. Some students approach their instructor late in the semester and ask how they can make up for months of poor performance. The key to success is to give this and all your courses your full attention and commitment. Here are a few specific suggestions:

‑Always attend class and lab, and sit near the front where it is easier to pay attention

‑Keep up with textbook reading assignments, and review key terms and concepts frequently

‑Study the review questions and key terms at the end of each textbook chapter

‑Use flash cards, or find a friend in the class and quiz each other

‑Use the practice exams on the Web to quiz yourself after studying a topic

‑Take advantage of all extra credit opportunities

‑Visit the instructor for help on anything you don't understand

Course Evaluation: You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course and the instructor using the IDEA Diagnostic Form at the end of the semester. A separate evaluation will be made in the laboratory.

Cell Phones: Please turn off cell phones and pagers and put them away during class.

 


 

                                    World of the Dinosaurs, Class Schedule, Fall 2010

Tue.

Aug. 31

Chapter 1: To catch a Dinosaur

Thu.

Sep. 2

Chapter 1: To catch a Dinosaur

Tue.

Sep. 7

Chapter 2: Dinosaur Days

Thu.

Sep. 9

Chapter 3: Who’s related to whom – and how do we know?

Tue.

Sep. 14

Chapter 3: Who’s related to whom – and how do we know?

Thu.

Sep. 16

Quiz (Chapters 1-3), Chapter 4: Who are the Dinosaurs?

Tue.

Sep. 21

Chapter 4: Who are the Dinosaurs?

Thu.

Sep. 23

Part II: Ornithischians, Chapter 5: Thyreophorans

Tue.

Sep. 28

Chapter 5: Thyreophorans: the armor-bearers

Thu.

Sep 30

Chapter 6: Marginocephalia: bumps, bosses, and beaks

Tue.

Oct. 5

Chapter 6: Marginocephalia: bumps, bosses, and beaks

Thu.

Oct. 7

Chapter 7: Ornithopoda: the tuskers, antelopes and “mighty ducks”

Tue.

Oct. 12

Chapter 7: Ornithopoda: the tuskers, antelopes and “mighty ducks”

Thu.

Oct. 14

Exam 1 (Chapters 1-7)

Tue.

Oct. 19

Part III: Saurischia, Chapter 8: Sauropodomorpha

Thu.

Oct. 21

Chapter 8: Sauropodomorpha: the big, bizarre, and the majestic

Tue.

Oct. 26

Chapter 9: Theropoda I: nature red in tooth and claw

Thu.

Oct. 28

Chapter 9: Theropoda I: nature red in tooth and claw

Tue.

Nov. 2

Chapter 10: Theropoda II: the origin of birds

Thu.

Nov. 4

Chapter 11: Theropoda III: early birds

Tue.

Nov. 9

Exam 2 (Chapters 1-11)

Thu.

Nov. 11

Veterans Day Holiday (no class)

Tue.

Nov. 16

Chapter 12: Dinosaur Thermoregulation: some like it hot

Thu.

Nov. 18

Chapter 12: Dinosaur Thermoregulation: some like it hot

Tue.

Nov. 23

Chapter 13: The Flowering of the Mesozoic

Thu.

Nov. 25

Thanksgiving Holiday (no class)

Tue.

Nov. 30

Chapter 14: A History of Paleontology Through Ideas

Thu.

Dec. 2

Chapter 14: A History of Paleontology Through Ideas

Tue.

Dec. 7

Chapter 15: The Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction: the frill is gone

Thu.

Dec. 9

Chapter 15: The Cretaceous-Tertiary Extinction: the frill is gone

Wed.

Dec. 15

Final Exam, 12:30-2:30 (Chapters 1-15)