Summer 2023 - EASC 103 D100

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs (3)

Class Number: 1361

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    AQ 3003, Burnaby



Dinosaurs ruled our planet for nearly 150 million years until the abrupt extinction of all non-avian (non-bird) dinosaurs, approximately 66 million years ago. We examine geologic time, fossils and biological classification, and investigate the rise and fall of the theropods, sauropods, ornithopods, stegosaurs, ankylosaurs, ceratopsians, and pachycephalosaurs. Breadth-Science.


The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs is an introductory course with focus on the Mesozoic Earth. We will examine the ‘Age of Reptiles’ and gain insights into a world ruled by dinosaurs. We begin with a broad look at fossils, geologic time and biological classification, and spend most of our time looking at the different groups of dinosaurs. The course ends with the extinction of the (non-avian) dinosaurs.

Course Topics:

  1. An introduction to dinosaurs, fossils, geologic time and biological classification
  2. Dinosaur ancestry and anatomy
  3. The rise of dinosaurs: the Triassic dinosaurs
  4. Theropod classification and diversity
  5. Sauropods: the long-necks
  6. Ornithopods: iguanondontids and the ‘duck bills’
  7. Thyreophora: plated dinos and the armoured tanks
  8. Marginocephalia: horned dinos and the dome-heads
  9. The fall of the dinosaurs: the K/Pg Extinction Event

Course Organization: Three 50-minute lectures per week.

Course Details:

  • The course is organized with 4 tests (no final exam). Attendance at each lecture is expected. At the end of the lecture students work in small groups to complete a ‘quick write’ exercise and a short post-lecture homework exercise is handed out. The homework is due at the start of the following lecture.
  • On the Friday before each of the 4 tests, the lecture is replaced with a ‘Dinos in the Lab’ open-lab day – a museum-like visit to our Earth Sciences lab where students view dinosaur displays and complete a review exercise.
  • Quick writes, homework and Dinos in the Lab exercises are graded on participation.



Students successfully completing this course will be able to:

  • Understand fossil preservation and types.
  • Know the geologic time scale and key events in biological evolution.
  • Know dinosaur classification.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the key evolutionary novelties for dinosaur clades.
  • Provide examples for each of the dinosaur clades.
  • Understand the Cretaceous-Paleogene Mass Extinction Event.



  • Quick Writes (in-lecture participation) 8%
  • Post-Lecture Homework (post-lecture participation) 8%
  • Dinos in the Lab Exercises (participation at the open lab review)) 4%
  • Test 1 20%
  • Test 2 20%
  • Test 3 20%
  • Test 4 20%



Access to Canvas


Course E-Text: Dinosaurs: the Textbook, 6th edition by Spencer G. Lucas, 2016.

If available, an online version of the textbook will be linked through the SFU Library.
ISBN: 9780231541848

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.