Fall 2024 - EASC 103 D100

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs (3)

Class Number: 1359

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 4 – Dec 3, 2024: Mon, Wed, Fri, 9:30–10:20 a.m.



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 dinosaur classification and the dinosaur fossil record

  1. Life on Earth through geologic time
  2. Dinosaur origins – a look at tetrapods and the reptile family tree
  3. Dinosaur anatomy
    5. The rise of the dinosaurs: Triassic Earth
  4. Theropod classification
  5. Theropod diversity – a look at the branches on the theropod family tree
  6. Sauropods: the long-necks
  7. Ornithopods: iguanondontids and the ‘duck bills’
  8. Thyreophora: plated dinos and the armoured tanks
  9. Marginocephalia: horned dinos and the dome-heads
  10. The fall of the dinosaurs: K/Pg Mass Extinction

Course Organization: Three 50-minute lectures per week.

Course Details:

  • The course is organized with a number of in-term tests (no final exam). Attendance at each lecture is expected and students will annotate (add to) the posted lecture PDFs with information learned during the class.


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.


  • Test 1 15%
  • Test 2 15%
  • Test 3 15%
  • Test 4 15%
  • Test 5 15%
  • Test 6 15%
  • Canvas homework exercises 10%


Test Format: Each test is 50 minutes in duration and out of 50 marks. Format is mainly multiple-choice and may also include fill-in-the-blanks and short-answer questions.


Homework: Each lecture (or equivalent) is followed by a homework exercise posted on Canvas. The homework is a series of multiple-choice questions or a matching exercise that will have you reviewing your annotated lecture notes.

This course fulfills Breadth-Science (B-Sci) requirements with successful completion    (C- letter grade or better).



Access to canvas


Course E-Text: Dinosaurs: the Textbook, 6th edition by Spencer G. Lucas, 2016.  ISBN 9780231541848

If available, an online version of a recommended dinosaurs textbook will be linked through the SFU Library.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html 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. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.