Part II of The Evolution of Reptiles; Early Mammals (April 1-5)

This week we will start by exploring the development of flying vertebrates, emphasizing pterosaurs.

Mammals evolved so gradually from the reptiles that it becomes difficult to say when the first mammal appeared. (A familiar story that you’ve heard with the fish, amphibians, dinosaurs, and “birds”.) The Wikipedia page on the evolution of mammals is quite good, and the related page on the cynodonts (a type of therapsid which includes the mammal ancestors) is useful. We will talk in detail about the various innovations which characterize the mammal-like reptiles and the early mammals. (And we won’t use all the terms in these pages, of course.)

Your second test will be on Friday, April 5. Our review session is on Thursday, April 4, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. Here is a copy of the Fall 2018 second test for your study. (No student answers this time.) 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  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.

Gigandipus, a dinosaur footprint in the Lower Jurassic Moenave Formation at the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site at Johnson Farm, southwestern Utah.

Geology in the News –

There has been a fantastic discovery of soft-bodied fossils in the Cambrian of China. The Qingjiang Biota rivals the Burgess Shale Fauna — at least half of the species are unknown to science. Bob Gaines of Pomona College is one of the co-authors on the first of what will be many papers.

Here’s a bit from the world of nonsense: “Why do flat-earth believers still exist?“. The most archaic and ridiculous ideas about our Universe are increasing in popularity, despite unprecedented access to real science. Explore why.

Here’s a story about dinosaur reconstructions (as in museums) catching up with the science.

Finally, check out the departmental blog describing our recent field research in the Jurassic of southwestern Utah. Spring Break is a great time for geology out West.

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