lecture03 - BioEE 278 Evolutionary Biology EARTH HISTORY A....

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1 BioEE 278 Fall 2007 Evolutionary Biology Lecture 3 EARTH HISTORY A. Deciphering the History of Life 1. One goal of evolutionary biology is to document the history of life on earth. 2. Two possible approaches a Infer characteristics of ancestors from reconstructing phylogenies of living species and higher taxa. b. Find direct evidence of past life (fossils) and assign dates to these fossils. 3. Must have a clear understanding of the timing of events. a. How old is the earth? b. How much time has there been for life to evolve? c. If we discover a series of fossil-bearing rocks, how do we know the order in which the fossils were deposited and how can we date the rocks in which they occur? e. Concerned with relative dates (order of events) and absolute dates (how many millions of years ago [Mya} did events occur? 4. Recognize that the earth is dynamic. a. Topography and geography have changed dramatically over the course of earth history. B. Views of Earth History 1. Development of ideas about concepts of time and the nature of geological processes. a. Initially, prevailing views were catastrophist , notion that stages in earth history and geology occurred abruptly, and with no continuity between stages. b. Catastrophist view consistent with western religious beliefs of creation having occurred as a series of major events. c.
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This note was uploaded on 09/28/2008 for the course BIOEE 2780 taught by Professor Geber during the Fall '07 term at Cornell.

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lecture03 - BioEE 278 Evolutionary Biology EARTH HISTORY A....

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