Author Archives: Mark Wilson

Eyes, brains and thumbs: the wonders of primate evolution (April 29 – May 3)

During our last week we will concentrate on primate and specifically human evolution. We look closely at our own lineage not just because it is of immediate interest to us, but also so we can directly apply concepts of evolutionary … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Eyes, brains and thumbs: the wonders of primate evolution (April 29 – May 3)

Our Cenozoic Mammalian Cousins (April 22 & 24)

We had our introduction to mammals back in the Triassic. They were ratty little critters then, but now that the non-avian dinosaurs are gone our mammals have become very serious and prolific. So many mammal groups appeared in the early … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Our Cenozoic Mammalian Cousins (April 22 & 24)

Catastrophe Again: The Cretaceous Mass Extinctions (April 15-19)

The story of the Cretaceous Mass Extinctions is amazing. The “Impact Hypothesis” was developed at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1980 when I was there as a graduate student (to my great fortune, even if I had nothing to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Catastrophe Again: The Cretaceous Mass Extinctions (April 15-19)

The Greening of the Earth: Evolution of Plants (April 8-12)

Plants have been in this course for awhile as a leafy background to tetrapod evolution, but now it is time to take them seriously. The best place to start a general survey of our very distant green cousins is with … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Greening of the Earth: Evolution of Plants (April 8-12)

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Part II of The Evolution of Reptiles; Early Mammals (April 1-5)

Jurassic Park, etc.: The Evolution of Reptiles (March 25-29)

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 … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Jurassic Park, etc.: The Evolution of Reptiles (March 25-29)

Plate Tectonics (March 4-8)

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Plate Tectonics (March 4-8)

The Amniotic Egg: Amphibians to Reptiles (February 25 – March 1)

I’m ignoring the fact that we’re still a day behind, alas. Please review the links for last week so you’re up to speed on the amphibians. Their descendants the reptiles are an enormously successful class, and their diversity is reflected … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on The Amniotic Egg: Amphibians to Reptiles (February 25 – March 1)

From Fins to Feet: Early Vertebrate Evolution (February 18-22)

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

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on From Fins to Feet: Early Vertebrate Evolution (February 18-22)

Developing Marine Ecosystems (February 11-15)

Your first lecture examination is on Friday, February 15. For preparation, linked here is a sample test and the Fall 2018 student HOL test #1 answers. I highly recommend reading it through. The student answers are not necessarily the best, but they … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Developing Marine Ecosystems (February 11-15)