lecture 03 - EARTH HISTORY Deciphering the history of life...

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EARTH HISTORY Deciphering the history of life o One goal of evolutionary biology is to document the history of life on earth o Two possible approaches Phylogenies – Infer characteristics of ancestors from reconstructing phylogenies of living species and higher taxa Fossils – Find direct evidence of past life (fossils) and assign dates to these fossils o Must have a clear understanding of the timing of events Understanding chronology (how old is the earth? How long has life existed/evolved? How can we date rocks where fossils are found? How can we order them? Relative dating – which is older Absolute dating – how many mya fossil occurred o The Earth is dynamic topography and geography have changed dramatically over the course of earth history Views of Earth history o Two views of change (in Earth history) Catastrophist – change occurs fast/abruptly (consistent with creation) Uniformitarianism James Hutton – geological change is gradual and continuous Hutton recognized cyclical nature of geological change, beginning of uniformitarian view Charles Lyell
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lecture 03 - EARTH HISTORY Deciphering the history of life...

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