Author Archives: Mark Wilson

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 … Continue reading

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Plate Tectonics (October 16-20)

Our primary topic this week is the Theory of Plate Tectonics, with an emphasis on how the dynamic Earth has affected the evolution of life. We can start with this beautiful world map, showing continents, mountains, ridges, transform faults and … Continue reading

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The Amniotic Egg: Amphibians to Reptiles (October 2-6)

The sixth week already. It must be time to really “conquer the land” as we say too often. Please review the links for last week so you’re up to speed on the amphibians. Their descendants the reptiles are an enormously … Continue reading

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From Fins to Feet: Early Vertebrate Evolution (September 25-29)

This week we return to the Paleozoic and examine developing marine communities, followed by a discussion of the causes of the Permian Mass Extinctions — the greatest disaster in the History of Life. Paleogeographic maps of Pangaea at the end … Continue reading

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Developing Marine Ecosystems (September 18-22)

Our topic this week  is the rise of animal life and the early development of marine communities. A good place to start on the Web is at Queen’s University’s Ediacaran fauna page. (Canadians are big on the earliest rocks and … Continue reading

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The First Record: The Oldest Fossils (September 11-15)

Hard to believe we’re already in the fourth week. We will begin with continued discussions of origins, especially hypotheses about the origin of life. Please be sure to look at the links listed for last week on this topic. We … Continue reading

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The Very Beginning: Origin of the Universe, the Early Earth & Life (September 4-8)

We’ll start the week finishing the biological basis of evolution, and then work into physical origins. Please review the links from last week, especially on DNA. Here’s a cool YouTube video of the “known universe” produced by the American Museum … Continue reading

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Mechanisms of Organic Change: Evolution (August 28 – September 1)

Lots of material this week. Note that you do not need to read every word of every source. These are supplementary resources for your understanding of the topics. Start with a good definition of evolution, for you will soon see … Continue reading

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Antiquity of the Earth and Life (August 23 & 25)

Geologic time is a fascinating topic. It is so unimaginably long it has been called “deep time”. Please learn the Geologic Time Scale as soon as possible because it is the chronological language of this course. Because you certainly don’t … Continue reading

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