EOSC 116 (3 cr): Mesozoic Earth: Time of the Dinosaurs


Course Overview

Student Profile

Jessica Lu, Upper Level Biology Major

Jessica Lu

“The discussion board [enables students] to ask questions about the learning material, as well as answer all the review questions posted up by the instructor.”

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EOSC 116 is an introductory science course designed for students with a general interest in the Earth sciences, science students interested in learning how scientific methods are applied in the Earth sciences, and students wishing to take the course for their own interest.

In this course, we will focus on the Earth during the Mesozoic. Earth is a complex system that can be studied using a multidisciplinary approach from the perspectives of geology, geophysics, atmospheric sciences, and oceanography. We will take a brief look at all these areas in the first half of the course, in order to assess how they affect life. The second half of the course is a study of the Mesozoic biosphere specifically, with a focus on marine life, land plants, dinosaurs and flying reptiles. The course culminates with a tour through some of the best Mesozoic fossil sites in Canada. The course is presented in 4 Modules.

Model A

Earth and Time, the Basics

This module provides a basic overview of the scientific method and some of the key geological concepts that are needed for an appreciation of Earth’s past environments and major events. Lessons will include a review of geological time, dating, continental drift, and basic paleontology in term’s of how fossils can be used to help interpret Earth’s history. We will also consider the types and relative rarity of different fossil groups.

Model B

Key Events Preceding Life in the Mesozoic

This module examines the origins and early history of life, a major evolutionary event in the Cambrian, and the movement of life from the oceans onto land. These early events have a profound effect on the nature of life that was to follow. We will also consider why extinction events are probably just as important as periods of accelerated evolution of new species to the diversity of life on our planet.

Model C

Mesozoic Earth, Life’s Cradle

Our planet can be treated as a composite of interacting systems. Landforms are controlled entirely by plate tectonic processes. The climate of the Mesozoic Era during the time of the dinosaurs was warmer than today. In popular culture this period is depicted as tropical, with oversized plants providing the backdrop for oversized animals. In this Module, we will learn about the major oceanic, climatic and tectonic features of the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous Periods and investigate how and why they change over time.

Model D

Mesozoic Life

In this module, we use these concepts to examine the rise and eventual fall of the Mesozoic biosphere. Lessons include looking at Mesozoic marine life, land plants, dinosaurs and flying reptiles. Finally we will turn the spotlight on some of the more astonishing Mesozoic fossil and fossil sites in British Columbia and Alberta, to see what local floras and faunas can contribute to the study of paleontology.






Final exam