Fall 2018

TR, 12:30-1:45; SIMS 105


Instructor: Dr. Diana Boyer


Office: 212B Sims                                

Office Hours: Monday 1:30-3, Thurs 8:30-9:30 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 ability 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 21

Paleontology, dinosaurs and geology

Ch 1



Aug 23

Science and Geologic time

Ch 2



Aug 28


Ch 2

Climate evidence


Aug 30

Evolution and Cladistics

Ch 3

Climate paper


Sep 4

Dino Anatomy

Ch 3



Sep 6

Road to the dinosaurs

Ch 4,5



Sep 11

Early Dinosaurs, Intro to Saurischia

Ch 5, p106-107



Sep 13

Theropods-meaty and scary

Ch 6



Sep 18

More theropods and T rex

Ch 6, 7

Beady eyes and steak knives


Sep 20

Theropods and feathers

Chap 6, 7



Sep 25

Exam 1

Ch 1-7



Sep 27

Dinos are birds

Ch 8



Oct 2

Can you out run a T rex?


Enter in trackway data


Oct 4


Ch 9



Oct 9

More long necks

Ch 9



Oct 11

Intro to Ornithischia, Thyreophorans

p. 228-236 Ch 10



Oct 16

Thyreophora: Stegosaur & Ankylosaur

Ch 10



Oct 18


Ch 11



Oct 23

Marginocephalia-Triceratops & friends

Ch 11



Oct 25

Ornithopods and review

Ch 12



Oct 30

Exam 2

Chs 8-11



Nov 1

Ornithopods and nests

Ch 12



Nov 6

No Class

Ch 13



Nov 8

Endothermy vs ectothermy

Ch 14

Endo-ecto evidence


Nov 13

dino diversity

Ch 16



Nov 15

K-Pg Extinction

Ch 16



Nov 20

K-Pg Extinction

Ch 15



Nov 22





Nov 27

History of Dinosaur Paleontology


Brontosaurus is back


Nov 29





Dec 6

Final exam Thurs 11:30

Ch 1-16



* Schedule is subject to change