OEB 213: Evolutionary Convergence, Mass Extinctions, and the Shape of Life

Next offer: Fall 2019

Meeting time and location: Thursday 0945-1145am, Museum of Comparative Zoology 101

Course summary: Understanding the processes responsible for the origin of major animal groups and the composition of the biosphere represent some of the core objectives of evolutionary biology. Despite monumental advances made possible by the onset of molecular techniques that allow to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships between phyla, as well as tracking the intrinsic developmental mechanisms behind their morphology, extant diversity inevitably offers an incomplete view of the evolutionary history of these organisms. This course examines how processes acting through deep time affect fundamental patterns of animal biodiversity, including topics such as the origin of animals, rapid diversification of major clades, and the impact of extinction in shaping extant biodiversity. The aim is to convey a sense of how evolutionary thinking has changed over the past few decades thanks to a combination of conceptual and technical advances, as well as to instill a sense of the importance of the animal fossil record as a valuable source of data with a uniquely historical component among the biological sciences.         

Requirements: The course has a strong biological component, so one of the following courses, or their equivalent, are encouraged: OEB 51, OEB 53, OEB 56, OEB 181.



OEB 306: Invertebrate Paleobiology and Evolution

Next offer: Please note that this is a graduate seminar; feel free to contact Javier for availability and research opportunities on Invertebrate Paleobiology.