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Last updated:

April 21, 2022


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Fossils are a glimpse into the distant past and fascinate young and old alike.

This course, Life in the Palaeozoic, will introduce you to the explosion of evolution that took place during the Palaeozoic era. You will look at the many different types of creatures that existed at that time and how they managed to evolve to exist on land.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Describe some key events in the evolution of life during the Palaeozoic Era, such as the first appearance of major groups of invertebrates and vertebrates, and the invasion of the land
  • Identify some common types of fossil organisms that were living in Palaeozoic seas, and comment on their likely environment and geological age
  • Make inferences from fossils about the biology and mode of life of some Palaeozoic organisms.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction 00:07:00
  • Learning outcomes 00:07:00
    • A burst of evolution 00:20:00
    • The Burgess Shale 00:20:00
    • An overview of animal phyla 00:40:00
    • The origin of the vertebrates 00:25:00
    • The Ordovician seas 00:15:00
    • The Silurian Period and the invasion of the land 00:25:00
    • Trilobites 00:35:00
    • More on trilobites 00:15:00
    • Crinoids 00:20:00
    • Corals 00:30:00
    • Other Wenlock Limestone fossils 00:15:00
    • The Devonian Period 00:15:00
    • A difficult evolutionary transition 00:20:00
    • An outline of vertebrate evolution 00:45:00
    • Conclusion 00:03:00

About the instructor

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