Vertebrate Paleontology (ESCI 463/563 & BIOL 486/586)

                                        Spring Semester 2008

Lectures:    Tuesday/Thursday at 11:00-12:15 in Akeley/Lawrence Science Center 203

Labs:          Friday at 1:00-3:50 pm in Akeley/Lawrence Science Center 203

Textbook:  Vertebrate Paleontology, 3rd ed., by Michael Benton, Blackwell Publishing

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

       Office:              Akeley/Lawrence 201E (inside the Earth Sciences department office)

       Office hours:    Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9:00 a.m. to Noon or whenever available

       Office phone:   677‑6122                         E‑mail:            Timothy.Heaton@usd.edu

       Dept. phone:     677‑5649                         Home page:    http://www.usd.edu/~theaton

 

Catalog Description: The origin, diversity, and osteology of vertebrate animals in Earth history as documented in the fossil record, including fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Course corequisite: ESCI 463/563L or BIOL 486/586L.

 

Laboratory: The laboratory will provide an opportunity to see vertebrate specimens and learn their anatomy. Some labs will begin with a graded quiz, as announced in the previous lab or lecture. The final exam will include some lab material.

 

Term Paper: Each student is to write a term paper on a topic related to the course and approved by the instructor. Papers are to be 5+ pages for undergraduates and 10+ pages for graduate students. Topics are due February 21st, First drafts are due April 24th, and Final drafts are due at the final exam. The first draft is to be a fully completed paper and will be graded, but you will receive feedback to help perfect the final draft.

 

Grading: There will be three hour exams and a final exam; the dates and material covered are listed on the class schedule. Exams will consist of multiple choice, matching, and essay questions. Practice exams are available on a course Web page (http://www.usd.edu/esci/vp).

 

Field Trips: Toward the end of the semester we will schedule field trips to Ashfall Fossil Beds in Nebraska and to the Black Hills area (Badlands Nat. Park, Hot Springs Mammoth Site, Black Hills Institute, School of Mines museum). Notes are to be turned in for credit.

 

University 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.

 

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.


         Vertebrate Paleontology (ESCI 463/563 & BIOL 486/586)

                                        Spring Semester 2008

                                  Approximate Class Schedule

Thu.

Jan. 17

Chapter 1: Vertebrate Origins

Tue.

Jan. 22

Chapter 1: Vertebrate Origins

Thu.

Jan. 24

Chapter 2: How to Study Fossil Vertebrates

Tue.

Jan. 29

Chapter 3: Early Paleozoic Fishes

Thu.

Jan. 31

Chapter 3: Early Paleozoic Fishes

Tue.

Feb. 5

Chapter 4: Early Tetrapods and Amphibians

Thu.

Feb. 7

Chapter 4: Early Tetrapods and Amphibians

Tue.

Feb. 12

Exam 1 (Chapters 1-4)

Thu.

Feb. 14

Chapter 5: The Evolution of Early Amniotes

Tue.

Feb. 19

Chapter 5: The Evolution of Early Amniotes

Thu.

Feb. 21

Chapter 6: Tetrapods of the Triassic, Term paper topics due

Tue.

Feb. 26

Chapter 6: Tetrapods of the Triassic

Thu.

Feb. 28

Chapter 7: Evolution of Fishes after the Devonian

Tue.

Mar. 4

Chapter 7: Evolution of Fishes after the Devonian

Thu.

Mar. 6

Exam 2 (Chapters 5-7)

Tue.

Mar. 11

Chapter 8: The Age of Dinosaurs

Thu.

Mar. 13

Chapter 8: The Age of Dinosaurs

Mar.

18-20

Spring Break (no class)

Tue.

Mar. 25

Chapter 8: The Age of Dinosaurs

Thu.

Mar. 27

Chapter 8: The Age of Dinosaurs

Tue.

Apr. 1

Chapter 9: The Birds

Thu.

Apr. 3

Chapter 9: The Birds

Tue.

Apr. 8

Exam 3 (Chapters 8-9)

Thu.

Apr. 10

Chapter 10: The Mammals

Tue.

Apr. 15

Chapter 10: The Mammals

Thu.

Apr. 17

Chapter 10: The Mammals

Tue.

Apr. 22

Chapter 10: The Mammals

Thu.

Apr. 24

Chapter 10: The Mammals, Term paper first drafts due

Tue.

Apr. 29

Chapter 11: Human Evolution

Thu.

May 1

Chapter 11: Human Evolution

Thu.

May 8

Final Exam 8:00-10:00 pm (Chapters 10-11 & Comprehensive)

 

 

Term paper final drafts due at final exam or before