Jurassic Park, etc.: The Evolution of Reptiles (October 27)

Remember that there are NO classes or review sessions on October 23 and 25, so this post is an advance welcome back! First some program notes. The review session this week is on Friday, October 27, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in our classroom. Your second test will be on Friday, November 3. Because I have a doctor’s appointment, there is NO review session on Wednesday, November 1. Instead our review session that week is on Thursday, November 2, 3:50 – 5:00 p.m. Here are the Spring 2017 second test answers for your study. Your test, of course, will be different. Those student answers are not optimum, just good enough for full credit. As with all sample tests, our current class has covered somewhat different material. Test seating: Students with last names starting with A through H in Room 216 (across the lobby); I-Z in Room 205 (our regular room). Test doors open at 7:50 a.m.; all tests due at 8:50 a.m.

Today we will return to reptiles, exploring the remaining diapsids and others. Please see the previous links. We will also begin the dinosaurs. As you may imagine, the Web is rich in sites about these beasts. Some of these pages are excellent, some are horrible, most are tolerable (and long). Let’s begin our explorations at where I used to work as a student: the University of California Museum of Paleontology at Berkeley. They invented the concept of the “on-line museum” many years ago. Start with their general dinosaur page, which has numerous images and links. Then take a guided tour of the Berkeley Dilophosaurus exhibit and their “T. Rex Expo“. I suggest ending your Berkeley dinosaur visit with their “Dinobuzz” page which has excellent explanations and discussions of the latest dinosaur research. Other impressive dinosaur websites include that of Paul Sereno, one of the most productive dinosaur paleontologists in the world and virtually an industry to himself. I can vouch for the accuracy, more or less, of the Wikipedia page on dinosaurs. The Dino Directory from the Natural History Museum in London is very useful and current. The American Museum of Natural History always has good dinosaur information and news.

Here  is our Classification of the Phylum Chordata used in this course [updated on October 29]. It is a list trimmed just for you. Yes, you do need to know all these names.

Girl and dinosaur at the Creation Museum in northern Kentucky. For this to make any sense, you’ll want to read my Wooster Geologists blog entry about our visit. (Click to expand the image.)

Geology in the News –

Have we been reconstructing Dimetrodon incorrectly all these years? I’m certain the answer is yes, but the real question is how off have we been. Unfortunately this article does not give a new image of the beast, but we may have one soon.

Half of the Universe’s missing matter has been found! This is not as exciting as it sounds because this is not “dark matter”. Apparently we have had an undercount of the ordinary matter in the Universe that is now rectified with new observations of tenuous gas tendrils.

Here’s a YouTube video projecting plate tectonic movements 250 million years into the future. You should be able to predict the pattern!


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