(Spring 2003)

Karla Parsons-Hubbard

Office Hrs:  TBA
Office: Carnegie 403
Phone x8353


Course requirements:                                              LAB [30%]     ($10 lab fee)               

2 mid-term exams                        [18% each]              1 comprehensive lab exam       [7%]

comprehensive final exam           [20%]                      weekly lab quizzes                   [7%]

1 research project/paper               [10%]                      weekly lab assignments           [16%]

class participation/presentations   [4%]                       1 of 2 field trips required


The field of Paleontology has changed over the past two decades. It is no longer simply a study of fossil specimens, but an historical science with applications to evolutionary theory, the origin of life, systematics, and paleoecology. In this course we will cover invertebrate biology/paleontology in lab and concentrate on evolutionary theory and paleoecology in lecture. Readings are from your textbook and on reserve. Reserve readings will be available in the science library, in the geology seminar room, and on ERes. Please consider checking out the paper reserves rather than printing your own copies from ERes if you prefer not to read the item on screen.


DATE                          TOPIC                                                            READINGS                           

Tues    Feb. 4              Intro and Taphonomy                                      Prothero vii-15

LAB                            Taphonomy: modes of preservation           Behrensmeyer (r)

Thurs   Feb 6               Variation in organisms                                    Prothero 2:17-33

                                                                                                            Gould "A Dog's Life" (r)

                                                                                                            Gould, "Size & Shape" (r)


Tues    Feb 11             Variation in populations; Systematics              Prothero ch. 3 & 4

LAB                            Systematics and cladistics                          

Thurs   Feb 13             What is a species?; Evolution                          Gould "What, if anything..."



Tues    Feb 18             Evolutionary theory cont.                                Gould & Eldredge (r)

punctuated equilibrium                                    Sheldon (r)

LAB                            Protoctista                                                     Prothero 11:188-211

Thurs   Feb 20             Macroevolution and microevolution      Gould "The interrelationship" (r)

                                    Discussion: Is there a different mechanism for macroevolution?


Tues    Feb 25             The role of extinction in evolution                   Prothero 6:79-93

                                                                                                            Raup (r)

                                                                                                            Kring (r)

LAB                            Sponges & Archaeocyatha                          (Clarkson ch. 4) Prothero 12

Thurs   Feb 27             Precambrian Life                                             Margulis (r)    

                                                                                                            Clarkson 55-71 (r)


Tues    Mar 4              Cnidaria                                                           Prothero 12:213-225

                                    Discussion: Cambrian Explosion.                   Morris, ch.1 & 8

                                    Replaying the tape of life.                                Gould ch. 1

LAB                            Cnidaria                                                        (Clarkson ch. 5)

Thurs   Mar 6              Cnidaria; Lophophorates: Bryozoa                  Prothero 13


                                    EXAM 1 Due at start of class, March 11

Tues    Mar 11            Lophophorates: Brachiopoda                          Prothero 13

LAB                            Lophophorata                                               (Clarkson ch. 6 & 7)

Thurs   Mar 13            Functional Morphology                                  Prothero 7:95 -115

                                                                                                            Lauder (r)

                                                                                                            Chamberlain (r)



Tues    Mar 18            Paleoecology I: Ecology; Arthropods              Prothero 8:117-127

LAB                            Arthropoda                                                   Prothero 14:247-271

                                                                                                            (Clarkson 11:348 -400)

Thurs   Mar 20            Paleoecology II: Factors of the physical environment



                                                MID-SEMESTER BREAK                                                            


Tues    Apr 1               The Mollusca                                                  Prothero 15:273-286

LAB                            Mollusca - Gastropoda                                (Clarkson Ch. 8)

Thurs   Apr 3               Mollusca cont. ; Paleoec. III: Evolutionary faunas


Tues    Apr 8               Evol. Faunas: Discussion: biomass change     Bambach (r)

LAB                            Mollusca - Bivalvia and Cephalopoda      Prothero 15:286-307

(Clarkson Ch. 8)

Thurs   Apr 10             Paleoecology IV: Behavior                              Prothero 8:127-145


FIELD TRIP- New York State   Depart Saturday morning at 7am, return Sunday evening          

Tues    Apr 15             Trace Fossils                                                   Prothero 18:403-415

LAB                            Graptolites and Conodonts                         (Clarkson ch. 10)


Thurs   Apr 17             Biostratigraphy                                                Prothero 10:168-183

            Biostratigrapahy, cont. in-class exercise         



                                    TAKE-HOME EXAM DUE in class 4/22

Tues    Apr 22             Echinoderms                                                   Prothero 16: 309-329

LAB                            Echinodermata                                             (Clarkson ch. 9)

Thurs   Apr 24             Biogeography                                                  Prothero 9:147-165


Tues    Apr 29             Biogeography; Reefs in time               Devonian Reef survey handout

LAB                            Field Trip: Marblehead

Thurs   May 1              Example: Great biotic interchange; Start presentations           



Tues    May 6              Papers due; Class presentations

LAB                **Comprehensive Laboratory Practical Exam**

Thurs   May 8              Class presentations




***papers due Tues May 6, in class***


Thursday May 15     FINAL EXAM  2 pm


Reference List

Bambach, Richard K., 1993. Seafood through time: changes in biomass, energetics, and productivity in the marine ecosystem, Paleobiology, v. 19, p. 372-397.


Behrensmeyer, Anna K.,1984. Taphonomy and the Fossil Record, American Scientist, v. 72(6),


Chamberlain, T.C. 1965. The method of multiple working hypotheses, Science, v. 148, p. 754-759.


Clarkson, E.N.K., 1998. Invertebrate Palaeontology and Evolution, 4th edition, Blackwell Science.


Conway-Morris, Simon, 1998. The Crucible of Creation: The Burgess Shale and the Rise of Animals, Oxford University Press.


Gould, Stephen Jay, 1977. Size and Shape, in Ever Since Darwin, New York, Norton & Co., p. 171-178.


Gould, Stephen Jay, 1983. What, If Anything, Is a Zebra? In HenŐs Teeth and HorseŐs Toes, New York, Norton & Co., p. 355-365.


Gould, Stephen Jay, 1993. A DogŐs Life in GaltonŐs Polyhedron, in Eight Little Piggies, New York, Norton & Co., p. 382-395.


Gould, Stephen Jay, 2001. The interrelationship of Speciation and Punctuated Equilibrium, in Evolutionary Patterns: Growth, Form, and Tempo in the Fossil Record, Jackson, Lidgard, and McKinney, eds., Chicago, Univ. of Chicago Press, p. 196-217.


Gould, Stephen Jay, 1989. Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History, W.W. Norton & Co., New York.


Gould, Stephen Jay, and Eldredge Niles, 1993. Punctuated equilibrium comes of age, Nature, vol. 366, p. 223-227.


Kring, David A., 2000, Impact Events and their effect on the origin, evolution, and distribution of life, GSA Today, vol. 10(8), p. 1-7.


Lauder, George V., 1995. On the inference of function from structure, in Functional Morphology in Vertebrate Paleontology, J.J. Thomason editor, Cambridge University Press, p. 1-18.


Margulis, Lynn, 1998. Symbiotic Planet: A new view of Evolution, Basic Books, a division of Perseus Books Group, NY.


Maynard Smith, John, and Ešrs Szathmary, 1995. The Major Transitions in Evolution, W.H. Freeman and Co., NY.


Morris (see Conway-Morris above)


Raup, David M., 1995. The Role of Extinction in Evolution, in. Tempo and Mode in Evolution, W.M. Fitch and F.J. Ayala, eds. p. 109-124.


Sheldon, P.R., 1990. Microevolution and the Fossil Record, in Palaeobiology: a Synthesis, Briggs and Crowther, eds. Blackwell Scientific, p. 106-110.


Vermeij, Geerat, 1991. When Biotas Meet, The Anatomy of a biotic interchange, Science, v.253 (5024), 1991.