Life on Planet Earth: Diversity, Evolution, and Extinction
Spring 2010 not offered
Evolution is the basic unifying theory for biological systems, and it is generally agreed that "nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." There is, however, no agreement on how exactly evolution works. New paleontological discoveries, as well as the development of theories on the close interaction between organisms and their environment, have profoundly changed the way in which earth scientists look at evolution. At the same time, rapid accumulation of molecular information and new techniques in developmental biology have revolutionized the view of evolution of life scientists. This course is designed to combine the information from life and earth sciences to provide basic knowledge about animal diversity, evolution, and broad-based environmental issues to nonscience students. We will discuss evolutionary changes over geological time and the extrinsic (environmental) and intrinsic (biotic) factors that affected that change, introducing students to the basic history of life on our planet. We will look into fundamental issues of organismic diversity with an understanding of the environmental factors that constitute natural selection pressures. We will also address the historical development of evolutionary theory to provide understanding of the way in which one of the major modern scientific insights--evolution--has developed in historical times.
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion
|Grading Mode: Graded
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None