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E-Seminars: E-Seminar Detail
 



E-Seminars in This Series

E-Seminar 2
The Triassic and the Origin of Dinosaurs


 
Dinosaurs and the History of Life
E-Seminar 1, Prelude to the Dinosaurs

Taught by: Paul E. Olsen

Description
E-Seminar Description
Dinosaurs dominated Earth for 160 million years, beginning 245 million years ago. They are fierce and fascinating animals, celebrities of our natural-history museums, and have much to teach us about our own world. Paul E. Olsen, professor of geological sciences at Columbia University, takes us on a journey through time and evolution to explore the dinosaurs and ancient Earth. With Olsen's guidance, we learn what dinosaurs can teach us about earth sciences, time, the history of life, and our own place in history. The world of the dinosaurs is a natural experiment for predicting our future, and their descendants are still with us.

In this first e-seminar in a series of nine, we will travel to the time before the dinosaurs, 4.5 billion to 245 million years ago, when our planet formed and became habitable, the first complex organisms arose, and the direct predecessors of the dinosaurs—and ourselves—came to dominate Earth.

E-Seminar Length:3–5 hours
Start Date:Anytime
Credits:Not-for-Credit
Prerequisites:None
Moderator:None
Columbia Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni:FREE

Interested in this
e-seminar?
Go to the e-seminar now*.

Note: Columbia students, faculty, staff, and alumni will need to use their University Network ID (UNI) to access e-seminars.



Objectives | Outline | Instructor's Background | Recommended Reading | Technical Requirements | Additional Information

Objectives
•    Trace the development of complex organisms from the first forms of life to the major groups of amniotes.

•    Identify and compare the shared derived characters of the predecessors of dinosaurs and mammals.

•    Understand and apply the concepts of geological time, evolution, and cladistics.

•    Relate the importance of the history of early life to ourselves and our world.

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Outline
1. Why Study Dinosaurs?
2. Understanding Time
3. Earth's Beginning
4. The First Animals
5. Devonian Fishes
6. Carboniferous Amniotes
7. Permian Tetrapods
8. First Mass Extinction

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Instructor's Background
Instructor's Background
Paul E. Olsen was born in New York City and received his B.A. in geology and his Ph.D. in biology from Yale University. Olsen is Storke Memorial Professor of Geological Sciences at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, where he has taught since 1984. Olsen serves as an advisor and a research associate for several geological and paleontological associations, has published dozens of peer-reviewed papers, and is regularly interviewed on television and radio shows and for popular magazines.

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Recommended Reading
Dingus, Lowell, and Timothy Rowe. The Mistaken Extinction: Dinosaur Evolution and the Origin of Birds. New York: W.H. Freeman, 1998.

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Technical Requirements
You will need to use a computer with Internet access to complete this course. We recommend the following minimum configurations:

IBM-COMPATIBLE PC
Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP, or NT
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 4 or above (Internet Explorer 5 strongly recommended) or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

MACINTOSH
MAC OS 8.6 or higher
64 MB of RAM (128 recommended)
Monitor: 800x600 resolution recommended
Connection: Internet service and 56K modem minimum
Browser: Internet Explorer 5 or above or Netscape 4.7 or above
Sound Card (if you can hear audio you have a sound card)
Plug-ins: RealPlayer 7 or later; Flash Player 5 or later; Acrobat Reader 5 or later
(all plug-ins are free)

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Additional Information
Who should take this course? Lifelong learners, dinosaur enthusiasts, students of biology and environmental history, beginning students of geology and paleontology.

Reading assignments: There are no required reading assignments in this course. Professor Olsen has recommended a textbook for further study and has included links to relevant articles and Web sites within the course.

Taking the seminar: The content of this e-seminar is delivered entirely on the Internet. You may access this content and participate in discussions at any time during which the course is open. There are no set times in which you must be online.

This course includes a discussion board for students to pose questions and comments to their peers and the professor.

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