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    Vassar College
  Feb 19, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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BIOL 275 - Paleontology and the Fossil Record

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
(Same as ESCI 275 ) Paleontology isn’t just a “dead science”- by studying processes that have occurred in the past, we can deepen our understanding of the current biota inhabiting the Earth. Conversely, by studying the modern distribution of organisms and the environmental, taphonomic, and ecological processes that impact their distribution and preservation, we can enhance our understanding of the processes that have controlled the formation and distribution of fossils through time. In this course, we explore the methodology used to interpret the fossil record, including preservational biases and how we account for them when studying fossil taxa. We also explore large-scale ecological changes and evolutionary processes and discuss how they manifest across geologic time, and how these relate to Earth’s changing fauna. We additionally learn about how paleontology has developed as a field in the context of different historical and social perspectives. Lab exercises focus on applying paleontological methods to a variety of different fossil and recent samples.

Two 75-minute periods and one 4-hour laboratory period.

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