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BOT/BI 499H/BOT 505 Fossil History of Plants - Spring 2013



(Aaron Liston), Gar W. Rothwell and Ruth A. Stockey
Office: Cordley 1071  Phone: 7-5252
emails: Gar Rothwell Ruth Stockey

Class location Cordley 1070, TR 9:00 - 10:50
Introductory information This course covers the evolutionary history of plants as revealed by the fossil record. Included are an introduction to the concepts of geological time, stratigraphy and sedimentation, fossilization of plants, and the diversity of plants through time. Hands-on experience with fossils will be gained during field trips to collect fossils, and through techniques to prepare and identify plant fossils. The course emphasizes a few important topics in plant evolution each quarter. This quarter the topic will be the evolution of land plants through time.

None.  Basic understanding of the scientific method, general biology, and plant biology will be helpful.  These topics are summarized well in several general botany text books including:

Raven, P.H., R.F. Evert & S.E. Eichhorn. 2005. Biology of Plants, 7th edition Worth Publishers, New York.

General course organization and meeting times

Paleobotany will consist of lectures, laboratory sessions, discussion sessions and field trips. The lecture and laboratory sessions are scheduled for 9:00 - 10:50 on Tuesday and Thursday. Additional time will be scheduled for weekend day-long field trips. This will include two or three day-long field trips on Saturdays.

Lecture/laboratory/field trip schedule  

Stewart, W.N. and G.W.  Rothwell.  1993. Paleobotany and the evolution of plants. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Available at:amazon

We recommend the paperback edition of the textbook, which is available for about $50.00.

Attendance policy No formal attendance will be taken. However points toward the final grade will be awarded for active participation in lecture and laboratory, and consistent attendance in will assure the best possible grade in the course.
Evaluation and grading plociy

Your final grade in Fossil History of Plants will be determined by the scores from quizzes, class participation, technique projects, fossil collections, and your final project, which will be presented both orally and as a written report. The distribution of points for your final grade from each of these is as follows:




3 term quizzes, 20 points each (undergrad students)

  60 points


3 term quizzes, 25 points each  (grad students)


  75 points

Class/field trip participation 

  20 points

  20 points

Peel technique

  15 points

  15 points

2 fossil collections, 5 points each

  10 points

  10 points

Oral presentation on project

  20 points

  25 points

Written project report (grad studetns only)


  25 points


  125 points

  170 points

Extra Help: The instructors are eager to assist you in mastering the course content. If you are having trouble or wish additional information, do not hesitate to ask. 

Late Work: All work received late will be evaluated and then lowered one full grade as a penalty for the late submission.

Cheating: Development of high standards of personal integrity is an integral part of a person's intellectual growth.  Anyone caught cheating on a quiz or examination, or presenting plagiarized work will receive an F for the course.

Related links

Various links and animations

Blackboard For access to grades