Jurassic Park, etc.: The Evolution of Reptiles (October 22-26)

This week we return to those wonderful reptiles, finally covering 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). The American Museum of Natural History has an excellent dinosaur website. Their dinosaur facts page is good too. You want YouTube dinosaurs? Click away and spend hours. 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 useful and current. The LiveScience site has the latest dinosaur news.

Your second test will be on Friday, November 2. Our review session is on Thursday, November 1, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Here are the Fall 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 M through Z in Room 205 (our regular room); A-L in Room 216 (across the lobby). Test doors open at 7:50 a.m.; all tests due at 8:50 a.m.

Here again is our Classification of the Phylum Chordata used in this course. It is a list edited just for you. Yes, you do need to know all these names.

The link to this week’s update on the Permian Extinction.

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 –

At least one Cretaceous shark (Squalicorax) ate one pterosaur (Pteranodon) based on a chewed-up wing bone. Must have been quite a scene at the time!

Here’s a provocative new idea: Mesozoic mammals went through a “nocturnal bottleneck” since they were easy prey for dinosaurs during the day. The result of our night-time habits is that we lost a genetic toolkit for repairing our DNA when it is damaged by solar radiation. Thus the headline saying we need sunscreen because of dinosaurs. Interesting.

A terrifying essay on climate change is now making the rounds. Grim, grim, grim. Our leaders have completely failed us on the most important issue in our history.

A scientific fight has developed over the earliest fossils. Structures in Greenland have been interpreted as microbial stromatolites 3.7 billion years old. Now a new study suggests that these features are inorganic, not biological. This would mean the earliest evidence for life returns to 3.5 billion year old stromatolites in Western Australia. Hot words have appeared between the two sides. I think the new study has the best evidence, so I would now say the earliest fossil evidence for life is 3.5 bya.

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