History of Life
Class Meets: Tuesday & Thursday 6:00-8:50, in Norman Mayer 118Instructor: Dr. Bruce E. Fleury
Office Hours: by appointment.
Bowler, Peter. 2008. Evolution:
The History of an Idea. University of California Press.
Fortey, Richard. 1997. Life - A Natural History of the First
Four Billion Years of Life on Earth. Vintage: New York.
Toomey, David. 2013. Weird
Life: The Search for Life That Is Very, Very Different from Our
Own. Norton: New York.
Margulis, Lynn and Sagan, Dorion. Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution.
1986, University of California Press
Philosophy and Goals
We rarely think beyond the narrow envelope of our human life span.Man is a relative newcomer to planet Earth. All of human history represents only a minute portion of the vast stretch of prehistoric time. Throughout these hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary history, many strange and wonderful organisms have ruled the world. This class will acquaint you with these curious creatures and the world they inhabited. You will gain a better perspective on the origin of our modern world, and the roots of our own species.
There will be two exams, each exam counting 100 points. Exams
will consist of definitions, fill-ins, and short answer essay
questions. Grades will be assigned as a percentage of 200 points
using the grading scale shown below. The final will not be
|A 93-100||B+ 87-89||C+ 77-79||D+ 67-69|
|A- 90-92||B 83-86||C 73-76||D 60-66|
|B- 80-82||C- 70-72||D- 55-59|
Students are reminded that all members of this class will adhere to the LAS Honor Code, which can be found at: http://www.tulane.edu/~jruscher/dept/Honor.Code.html
Schedule of Topics
Date Topic Readings
What Scientists Do, Discovery of Time 1
Bowler p.1-144 19
Discovery of Time 2, Origin of Life 1
Fortey 1-68; Toomey p.1-99 24
Origin of Life 2, 3
Origin of Life 3, Cells to Organisms Margulis p. 27-58
Cells to Organisms Margulis p. 59-191
Midterm Exam (covers through Cells to Organisms)
Cambrian Explosion Fortey p.87-136 9
Fossils 1, 2
Fortey p. 137-209
Extinction 1, 2
Dinosaurs 1, 2 Fortey p. 210-322
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Bowler, P. Evolution: The History of an Idea. University of California Press, 1989.
The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs. Dial Press, 1976.
Glen, W. (ed).
Mass-Extinction Debates: How Science Works In A Crisis.
Stanford University Press, 1994.
The Great Dinosaur Controversy. ABC-Clio, 2004.
Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck? Norton, 1991, esp. pp.
Raup, D.M. The Nemesis Affair: A Story of the
Death of Dinosaurs and the Ways of Science. Norton, 1986.
Toulmin, S and
J. Goodfield. The Discovery of Time.
readings are available online:
Futuyma, D. Hypotheses, Facts, and the Nature of Science
Gould, S.J. Velikovsky in Collision.
National Academy of Sciences. Science, Evolution, and Creationism.
exhibit on the history of evolutionary thought
Andrews' creationism links and resources
National Academy of Science - Evolution resources from the National Academies
of Sciences. Science, Evolution, and Creationism (booklet)
The Wedge Document (Intelligent Design's Manifesto)
The Fundamentals. Full text of the essays online
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This page was last updated on 5/14/16