|Geology 105 - Paleontology|
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You may choose to research one of the topics below, or you may choose your own topic. Any topic you choose, however, must be cleared with your instructor. Remember to read the paper assignment carefully.
If you want to pick your own topic:
Taphonomy - how good is the fossil database?
Origin of flight in birds
Origin of feathers
Evolution of complexity
Diversity over time - are there more kinds of organisms now than in previous geologic periods? what factors impact diversity?
Catastrophic explanations of the Permian extinction
Causes of the North American Pleistocene mammal extinction
T.rex - predator or scavenger? Slow or fast?
Causes or rates of the Cambrian radiation
Heterochrony (paedomorphosis) in fossil lineages
Desmostylus - is it hippo? sea cow? How and where did it live?
Origin of whales
Sorting out early Homo lineage - are many of the proposed species
really just Homo erectus?
Small Pleistocene hominids from Indonesia
Using stable isotopes to investigate paleoecology
Quantitative biostratigraphy - limits to methods
Cladistic analysis in biostratigraphy
Sorting out brachiopod taxonomy
When mammals radiated: before or after dinosaur extinction?
Flight and feeding in pterosaurs
Mineral templates and the origin of life
Rates of human evolution: are they increasing?
Early humans and ecological disasters
New ideas about Chicxulub - the K-T impact site
Dinosaur growth and reproduction
What happened to Neanderthals? Murder, competition or love?
Differences between modern humans and Neanderthals
Evolution of bipedalism in humans
Evolution of domestic dogs
Strange and wonderful hadrosaur crests
Tiktaalik and the origin of tetrapods
Why were sauropods so enormous?
Sauorpod long necks and tails - flexible or stiffened? And
World's oldest fossils - or are they?
Methane, climate change & mass extinction
Parallel evolution of eyes across major groups
Red Queen hypothesis - does coevolution happen so fast that
everyone is running fast just to stay in the same place?