Paleontology: Ancient Marine Reptiles


Paleontology: Ancient Marine Reptiles

This is an online 4-week course offered by the University of Alberta for Coursera. I already took their course on the evolution of birds and it was fascinating. The course is free, unless you want a verified certificate. So why not sign up and learn more about the evolution of these cool sea monsters?

(Henry Stoddard) #2

You are a nice lady. Take care and God bless you, Beaglelady.


Thanks for the alert. On many occasions I have encouraged anti-evolution activists to educate themselves so that they can do a better job of exposing the alleged problems in the theory of evolution. It has been interesting to collect their rationalizations for why they do NOT want to do that. I only have anecdotal data but I’ve wondered if the rationalizations today are different than those of deniers of 50 years ago.


Here is the introduction to the first lesson:

Welcome to the first lesson of Palaeontology: Ancient Marine Reptiles. In this lesson we will explore the main theme of the course: the aquatic problem. In other words, what happens when a terrestrial animal returns to the water permanently? How do air-breathing, land-lubbing creatures once again adapt to life in the sea? Life in water is very different than life on land. Water is much denser than air, which affects all aspects of an animal’s life including movement, sight, and hearing. In addition, animals that return to the water cannot breathe water, and so must return to the surface for air. Water also conducts heat much better than air, making staying warm and active a challenge. Despite all these obstacles, many land animals have returned to the water throughout the course of evolutionary history. In fact, many examples of them are living today including whales, seals, crocodiles, sea turtles and penguins. Each of these animals had ancestors that returned to the water. The process of overcoming the challenges associated with this transition is what we refer to as the aquatic problem. This lesson will explore many different types of adaptations that modern and extinct animals have evolved to meet these challenges. You will be introduced to some extinct groups of reptiles you have probably never heard of, and will gain a new appreciation for how well suited modern marine animals are to their environment.

So I think this course would be of interest to many.

(system) #5

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