Fall 2022 - EASC 310W D100

Paleontology (3)

Class Number: 1933

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 5008, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 12, 2022
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    WMC 3511, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Shahin Dashtgard
    1 778 782-5492
    Office: TASC1 Room 7227
  • Prerequisites:

    EASC 210. Recommended: BISC 102. All with a grade of C- or better.



Principles of classification, morphology and development of the major groups of animals and plants in the geological record; the paleoecologic significance of fossils. Students with credit for EASC 203 or EASC 310 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


EASC 310W is an introduction to Paleontology, tracing the evolution of life based on evidence from the fossil record. The course will concentrate on invertebrate fossil groups and the various morphological criteria necessary for their identification. In addition, the course will consider the principles of preservation, classification and paleoecological interpretation, in relation to the main fossil groups important to geology. Lectures will provide the necessary theoretical framework. Laboratory work will focus on examining morphological elements of the main invertebrate fossil groups and their classification and analytical techniques. This course is offered as a Writing Intensive course.

Course Topics:
1. Introduction to paleontology, the fossil record and variations in fossils, principles of preservation, taphonomy.
2. A brief summary of the early Earth and the origin of life,
3. A discussion of species and speciation, and systematics.
4. Use of paleontological data, microfossils, adaptation and functional morphology, biostratigraphy, paleoecology, biogeography.
5. Analysis of organisms' adaptive abilities to better suit their environment; the influence of plate tectonics and paleoclimates on the evolution of life; mass extinction events.

Course Organization:
One 2-hour lecture/week (Most delivered in person. Some may be pre-recorded)
One 3-hour laboratory period every week (in person)


Students successfully completing this course will be able to:

* recognize, describe and classify a wide range of invertebrate fossil groups and understand their temporal position in Earth history.

* understand functional morphology and evolutionary pathways for fossil groups and their roles in biostratigraphy and paleoecological interpretations.

* identify a number of zone fossils from different time periods.

* understand the role plate tectonics played in the evolution and extinction of life through Earth history.

* demonstrate improved technical writing skills through a series of writing exercises.


  • Laboratory Assignments 20%
  • Lab Exam 1 25%
  • Lab Exam 2 25%
  • Paper 30%



Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record 2nd Edition by Michael J. Benton and David A. T. Harper; Wiley-Blackwell [$79.99 on Wiley.com]
ISBN: 978-1-119-27288-5


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