What is the course about?
This course examines some aspects of our current climate crisis and of the 5 mass extinctions that ravaged the earth over the last 450 million years. It will give you an appreciation for the fragility of ecosystems, which can be disrupted by even the smallest change. You will also learn how scientists date rocks and how they know these extinction events took place. Scientists have not entirely explained the causes of these events and a number of possibilities will be examined for each period. This is an opportunity for you to go beyond the extinction of the dinosaurs to planetary history that featured some of the most devastating mass extinctions.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
- The Holocene Extinction Event: Present Day
- The Extinction of the Dinosaurs: 65 million years ago
- The Triassic-Jurassic Extinction Event: 200 million years ago
- The Great Dying: 250 million years ago
- The Kellwasser - Hangenberg Event: 375 million years ago
- The Ordovician-Silurian Extinction Event: 450 million years ago.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- List the major extinction events
- Describe the key evidence that sheds light on these events
- Explain the mechanisms that contributed to the extinction event
- Learn about the fragility of ecosystems throughout prehistory.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory overview, no previous knowledge required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Combination of presentation, discussion and materials to view.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Please do bring a notepad and pen.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
HS141 A brief introduction to human evolution
HS117 The geology beneath British landscapes
HS046 Genes, genomes and genetic manipulation.