EBIO 2030

History of Life

Summer 2016

Class Meets: Tuesday & Thursday 6:00-8:50, in Norman Mayer 118

Instructor:  Dr. Bruce E. Fleury

Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Stern 4030, x8290, 865-5191 (Bio Office)
email: bfleury@.tulane.edu
home page: http://www.tulane.edu/~bfleury/

Office Hours: by appointment.


Bowler, Peter. 2008. Evolution: The History of an Idea. University of California Press.

Fortey, Richard. 1997. Life - A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth. Vintage: New York.

Toomey, David. 2013. Weird Life: The Search for Life That Is Very, Very Different from Our Own. Norton: New York.

Margulis, Lynn and Sagan, Dorion. Microcosmos: Four Billion Years of Microbial Evolution. 1986, University of California Press

Philosophy and Goals

We rarely think beyond the narrow envelope of our human life span.Man is a relative newcomer to planet Earth. All of human history represents only a minute portion of the vast stretch of prehistoric time. Throughout these hundreds of millions of years of evolutionary history, many strange and wonderful organisms have ruled the world. This class will acquaint you with these curious creatures and the world they inhabited. You will gain a better perspective on the origin of our modern world, and the roots of our own species.


There will be two exams, each exam counting 100 points. Exams will consist of definitions, fill-ins, and short answer essay questions. Grades will be assigned as a percentage of 200 points using the grading scale shown below. The final will not be cumulative.

A      93-100  B+    87-89 C+    77-79 D+    67-69
A-     90-92 B      83-86 C      73-76 D      60-66

B-    80-82 C-    70-72 D-    55-59

Students are reminded that all members of this class will adhere to the LAS Honor Code, which can be found at: http://www.tulane.edu/~jruscher/dept/Honor.Code.html

Schedule of Topics

Date Topic Readings


What Scientists Do, Discovery of Time 1
Bowler p.1-144
Discovery of Time 2, Origin of Life 1
Fortey 1-68; Toomey p.1-99
Origin of Life 2, 3
Origin of Life 3, Cells to Organisms Margulis p. 27-58
Cells to Organisms Margulis p. 59-191


Midterm Exam (covers through Cells to Organisms)

Cambrian Explosion Fortey p.87-136
Fossils 1, 2
Fortey p. 137-209
Extinction 1, 2
Dinosaurs  1, 2 Fortey p. 210-322
Dinosaurs 3

Final Exam

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Outline Notes in Text Format

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Recommended Reading

Bowler, P. Evolution: The History of an Idea. University of California Press, 1989.

Desmond, A. The Hot-Blooded Dinosaurs. Dial Press, 1976.

Glen, W. (ed). Mass-Extinction Debates: How Science Works In A Crisis. Stanford University Press, 1994.

Gould, S.J. Ever Since Darwin. Norton, 1977. Ch. 17, The Reverend Thomas’ Dirty Little Planet, pp. 141-146, Ch. 18, Uniformity and Catastrophe, pp. 147-152.

Parsons, K.M. The Great Dinosaur Controversy. ABC-Clio, 2004. Ch. 2, Fearfully Great Lizards, pp. 15-31; Ch. 3, Huxley Agonistes, pp. 33-48; and Ch. 6, Cold-Blooded, Warm-Blooded, or Neither, pp. 87-104.

Raup, D.M. Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck? Norton, 1991, esp. pp. 64-87.

Raup, D.M. The Nemesis Affair: A Story of the Death of Dinosaurs and the Ways of Science. Norton, 1986. Ch. 2, Catastrophism and Earth History, pp. 29-45; Ch. 4,  Gubbio and the Iridium Anomaly, pp. 61-74; Ch. 7, Enter Periodic Extinction, pp. 107-129; and Ch. 12, Belief Systems in Science, pp. 193-207.

Toulmin, S and J. Goodfield. The Discovery of Time. University of Chicago, 1965. Ch. 4, The Revival of Natural Philosophy, pp. 74-102; and Ch. 7, The Earth Acquires A History, pp. 141-170.

The following readings are available online: 

Futuyma, D. Hypotheses, Facts, and the Nature of Science

Gould, S.J. Velikovsky in Collision.
National Academy of Sciences. Science, Evolution, and Creationism.


      Fleury's Creationism/ID Bibliography

      UCMP Berkely exhibit on the history of evolutionary thought

Andrews' creationism links and resources

National Academy of Science - Evolution resources from the National Academies

National Academy of Sciences. Science, Evolution, and Creationism (booklet)

The Wedge Document (Intelligent Design's Manifesto)

        The Fundamentals. Full text of the essays online

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This page was last updated on 5/14/16