NC State University: Department of Biological Sciences
BIO495 Paleontological Field Methods
Understanding the history of life would not be possible without first and foremost unearthing it. Discovering, collecting, and conserving fossil specimens for research is a time and labor-intensive endeavor that requires hands-on training in the field. This course covers paleontological field and lab methods including: specimen data collection; topographic and geologic maps; GPS techniques; specimen conservation and preparation; prospecting and excavation of macro- and microvertebrate fossil localities; and taphonomic indicators. Course includes a general introduction to the evolution of life; Mesozoic biodiversity, biostratigraphy, and biogeography; vertebrate skeletal anatomy; microfossils; stratigraphic and sedimentary concepts; as well as geomorphology and various depositional environments spanning a period of over 150 million years of earth’s history. Four-week course includes two weeks of lecture/lab at the NC Museum of Natural History and two weeks of fieldwork in Utah. Additional fees required.
ZO495 Archosaurian Anatomy, Physiology, & Evolution
Archosauria or “ruling reptiles” were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates during the Mesozoic Era (252-66 million years ago) and were broadly divided into a “crocodile” lineage and a “bird” lineage. The latter of these groups includes the most famous archosaurs–Dinosauria, survived today only as Avialans (birds). In this course we examine the anatomical and physiological strategies that shaped the evolution of archosaurs, including respiratory and reproductive innovations and unique skeletal traits. This is a hands-on course involving lectures, histological, and gross anatomy labs including dissections and fossil materials.
The Tyrannosaurus rex specimen at the new Nature Research Center in downtown Raleigh was a 12-year-old predator with stereoscopic vision and a killer sense of smell. Fully grown she would have tipped the scales at over 15 tons, ripped flesh and bone with a bite force of 13,000 pounds per square inch, and stalked prey at speeds of 5-11 ms-1. How do we know? Join us as we explore how breakthrough research is revolutionizing our understanding of the fossil record of life, starting with fundamental concepts in paleobiology and progressing to recent case studies. This course will combine lectures and discussions, integrating weekly critical literature evaluations and presentations. Course will require students to give one public presentation at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Undergraduates by permission of the instructor. Will serve as an EEC Elective, a Zoology Elective, a Supraorganismal Elective in IPN, or as a Restricted or Free Elective in all undergraduate curricula in the Department of Biology.
For Credit Internships
I periodically accept motivated undergraduate students from a variety of disciplines including science, graphic art, and engineering as interns. These students gain credit for contributing to the lab’s research. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.