Fall 2019

TR, 12:30-1:45; SIMS 201


Instructor: Dr. Diana Boyer


Office: 212B Sims                                

Office Hours: Tues 9:00-11:00 and by appointment


Course Objective: The goal of this course it to introduce you to fundamentals of dinosaur paleontology including evolution, classification and extinction of this amazing group of reptiles. This will include discussions of the life and times of dinosaurs. What I am most excited about is our discussions of how we acquire information about extinct animals. For example, behavior, diet, color and use of enigmatic features- e.g. plates on Stegosaurus, what are they used for? You will also leave this class with the tools to track down primary sources for scientific information and the ability to tackle this type of literature. You will also have an appreciation for science in the popular media and how to go beyond the headlines.


Text: Fastovsky, D. and Weishampel, D.B, 2016, Dinosaurs: a concise natural history, Cambridge University Press, third edition, 477p. REQUIRED



Participation and assignments                              20%

2 exams                                                                     40%

Quizzes                                                                     20%

Final Exam                                                                20%






Tentative schedule of topics*


   Assignments due*

Aug 20

Paleontology, intro to geology

Ch 1


Aug 22

Science and Geologic time

Ch 2


Aug 27


Ch 2

  Climate evidence

Aug 29

Evolution and Cladistics

Ch 3

Climate paper

Sep 3

Dino Anatomy

Ch 3


Sep 5

Road to the dinosaurs

Ch 4,5


Sep 10

Early Dinosaurs, Intro to Saurischia

Ch 5, p106-107


Sep 12

Theropods-meaty and scary

Ch 6


Sep 17

More theropods and T rex

Ch 6, 7

Beady eyes

Sep 19

Theropods and feathers

Chap 6, 7


Sep 24

Exam 1

Ch 1-7


Sep 26

Dinos are birds

Ch 8


Oct 1

Can you out run a T rex?


trackway data

Oct 3


Ch 9


Oct 8

More long necks

Ch 9


Oct 10

Intro to Ornithischia, Thyreophorans

p. 228-236 Ch 10


Oct 15

No Class Fall Break



Oct 17

Stegosaur & Ankylosaur

Ch 10

Stego plates

Oct 22


Ch 11


Oct 24

Marginocephalia-Triceratops & friends

Ch 11


Oct 29

Ornithopods and nests

Ch 12


Oct 31

Exam 2

Ch 8-12


Nov 5

Endothermy vs ectothermy

Ch 13

Endo-ecto evidence

Nov 7

dino diversity

Ch 14


Nov 12

K-Pg Extinction

Ch 16


Nov 14

History of Dino Paleontology

Ch 15


Nov 19

Dinos and pop culture



Nov 21




Nov 24

No Class Thanksgiving



Nov 26

No Class Thanksgiving



Dec 3

Study day



Dec 5

Final exam Thurs 11:30

Ch 1-16


* Schedule is subject to change