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Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology

University of Alberta via Coursera

28 Reviews 5681 students interested
  • Provider Coursera
  • Subject Biology
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Effort 3-10 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 12 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review

Overview

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Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology is a 12-lesson course teaching a comprehensive overview of non-avian dinosaurs. Topics covered: anatomy, eating, locomotion, growth, environmental and behavioral adaptations, origins and extinction. Lessons are delivered from museums, fossil-preparation labs and dig sites. Estimated workload: 3-5 hrs/week.

Syllabus

Appearance and Anatomy
This lesson covers the diversity in dinosaur appearances, and will be able to identify major features of the major groups of dinosaurs.

Death and Fossilization
This module describes how fossils form, how we interpret the taphonomy of skeletons and bonebeds, and looks at the possible biases taphonomic events may create in the fossil record.

Eating
This module looks at the variety of food types, feeding habits, and feeding adaptations amongst the major groups of dinosaurs.

Moving Around
This module helps students understand the general modes and styles of locomotion in the major dinosaur groups. It also describes general methods of evaluating hypotheses on locomotion.

Birth, Growth and Reproduction
This module provides a generalized life history of a dinosaur, from birth through adulthood, including reproduction. The student will be able to describe major techniques of evaluating growth stages and rates in dinosaurs.

Attack and Defense
Examines the behaviours and structures that may have served for attack or defence through the lifetime of a dinosaur.

What is a Species?
This module will teach the different ways of defining what a species is. Students will be able to compare the strengths and weaknesses of different species concepts for different situations.

Evolution
This module will describe the basic theories of speciation, and discusses how how these different methods of speciation may have occurred, including both hypothetical and empirical examples.

Stratigraphy and Geologic Time
This method provides basic stratigraphic concepts and the scale of earth history. Students will understand the evolution of dinosaurs through time, including which groups evolved when and where.

Paleogeography and Plate Tectonics
This module presents the basic concepts in plate tectonics and the evolution of the earth’s surface.

Dinosaur Origins
This module will look at the evolution of dinosaurs from non-dinosaurian archosaurs.

Dinosaur Extinction
The module will examine the end-Cretaceous extinction event, and provide examples of vertebrate groups that both persisted and died out during the event.

Taught by

Philip Currie and Betsy Kruk

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Reviews for Coursera's Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology
4.7 Based on 28 reviews

  • 5 stars 89%
  • 4 star 0%
  • 3 star 4%
  • 2 star 4%
  • 1 star 4%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

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  • 1
Jeffrey C
5.0 4 years ago
by Jeffrey completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
Great course! The lectures are very enjoyable to watch, much like watching nature documentaries. Overall the difficulty is extremely easy and requires minimal committment, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are a busy person. In addition, all the lectures are made available at the beginning of the course, so you can watch multiple week's worth of lectures at once if you want.

To get the most out of the course, I recommend reading the included class notes, which go into greater detail than the lectures and contain some wonderful diagrams and pictures.

The only (very minor) criticism I have is that difficulty of the in-lecture quizzes varies greatly and depends on prior knowledge.

6 people found
this review helpful
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John S
3.0 5 years ago
John completed this course, spending 1 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
I personally found this course to be far too basic. It is a very superficial introduction to and overview of dinosaurs that will not be very interesting to anyone with more than a passing interest in them. Having said that, the course was quite well done and would be perfect for someone who is just beginning to learn about dinosaurs.
6 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 3 years ago
Anonymous completed this course, spending 6 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I was initially nervous about taking this course given that I don't come from a scientific background but I was pleased to discover that I struggled much less than I thought I would. It is a wonderful overview and introduction to paleobiology and inspired me to look for more courses in the same arena.
6 people found
this review helpful
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Stephen S
5.0 5 years ago
Stephen completed this course.
Great intro to dinosaur biology. Engaging lectures and some good discussion in the forums. Plus there are some 3D scans of dino fossils you can play with in your browser.

As one of the other reviewers implied, it is not a rigorous course, although they do go into some detail about dino anatomy. I thought it was perfect for a 100 level course. If UAlberta ever gives a follow-on, I am there!
5 people found
this review helpful
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Mona L
5.0 3 years ago
by Mona completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Very interesting course. I did it for myself, because I wanted to know more about dinosaurs and I learned so much also about the Earth. What I also liked was to learn about the latest discoveries in that field. The content was well organised. The teachers were clear and agreable to listen to. I particularly enjoyed the visits on the field.
3 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Superb! Excellent presentation, real fossils used, on-location filming, engaging software applications, great supplementary materials, and strong on-line support. This was my first class in over a decade and it has motivated me to look at additional MOOC offerings.
4 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Meg B
5.0 5 years ago
Meg completed this course.
Another terrific MOOC featuring engaging material and presenters. This one gets points for variety – they regularly changed up the format of the video lectures and even took us on-site to excavations in the Alberta Badlands.
4 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Very high quality of video presentations. Some nice interactive activities (3d models, timescale, fossil puzzles). Very high budget.

A bit too simple - absolutely not for "hardcore scientists".
2 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 a month ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This course is absolutely amazing. It gives you so much information about everything to do with dinosaurs and really well presented. It gives a real appreciation for the animals and just how special they really were/are. You won't regret it - do the course and complete it!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Tw H
5.0 4 years ago
Tw completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I zoomed through the videos, foregoing the week by week. This was a really great course. A thorough introduction to dinosaurs that touches on so much of the relevant scientific information. Embedded questions in the video were great.
2 people found
this review helpful
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Gerald V
5.0 a year ago
by Gerald completed this course, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.
Excellent presentation. I audited the course twice to make sure I didn't miss a word.

Likewise, I would recommend all the paleontology courses offered by the Univ of Alberta.

I sent a contribution to this department to show my gratitude
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Peri O
5.0 2 years ago
Peri completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
This course really does give a good, broad base of knowledge. To explore more about these concepts I recommend checking out the other paleo courses from the University of Alberta.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Julia S
5.0 3 years ago
Julia completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
Excellent course -- highly recommended for the armchair paleontologist, especially anyone who has yet to outgrow a youthful passion for dinosaurs.
1 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 5 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
great information. really enjoyed this class. It was just too short and my computer skills are lacking. Thanks for a great time. Very enjoyable
0 person found
this review helpful
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Cécile C
5.0 5 years ago
Cécile completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be easy.
The videos are very engaging, I watched them twice. I wish there was more, maybe a Dino 102 in the future?
1 person found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 3 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
Really enjoyed the course--it starts on a beginner level, but that's how it describes itself. You get helpings of basic biology and evolutionary theory, along with lots about dinosaurs, well organized and enthusiastically presented. It's easy to do a couple of weeks in a siting. I just started on the U of Alberta's mini-course on ancient marine reptiles, and it was an excellent intro for that. Recommended!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 2 weeks ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This course was a great way to learn more about dinosaurs without needing a technical background. It gives you well rounded knowledge and has made me want to learn even more.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 a month ago
Anonymous is taking this course right now.
Very interesting course. Learning lots about dinosaur biology and the material was very engaging. Overall really enjoying it, and looking forward to completing it
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anne L
1.0 a month ago
Anne is taking this course right now, spending 5 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be very easy.
You need to learn how to write a syllabus. Ask a high school science teacher!

I've never seen such an poor example of a syllabus!?!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Debbie B
5.0 4 years ago
by Debbie completed this course.
1 person found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

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