In this course, we will explore the history of vertebrates revealed by fossils and living animals. We will cover the evolution of the major vertebrate groups, including discussions of the biogeography, stratigraphy, and paleoecology of select clades. Classroom activities will include hands on projects involving fossils, casts, and skeletons.
Topics to be covered:
The criteria for assigning grades for the course are the following:
My research interests center on vertebrate taphonomy, ichnology, paleopathology, and paleoecology. In particular, I study bone surface modifications generated under modern and experimental conditions to better understand the processes which left similar traces on bone in the fossil record. My current research projects include:
Jen Bauer is a PhD candidate in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences. Her primary field is evolutionary paleobiology. She focuses on understanding evolutionary relationships and respiration of extinct animals. For her research she has been fortunate to travel to many museums and wonderful fossil localities over the past several years. Jen spends a significant amount of time providing educational lessons on fossils to young students, both at the McClung Museum and at local grade schools. In her spare time she enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and knitting scarves.
I am a paleobiologist, so I an interested in understanding how life evolved through Earth’s history. Currently, I’m working on a group of extinct echinoderms (the group that includes sea lilies and sea stars): the diploporitans. These fossils and are not well understood. Their evolutionary relationships to other echinoderms, biogeography, or even why the diploporitans went extinct are big questions that don’t have answers. To learn more about this puzzling group, I do field work all over the world to uncover new fossils and travel to international museum collections to museums to restudy diploporitan collections. I am very active with science outreach and work with the local natural history museum, public schools, and the Darwin Day Program at the University of Tennessee to get people excited about science and to learn more about evolutionary biology.
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