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Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology

All-Time Top 100

University of Alberta via Coursera

43 Reviews 5813 students interested
Found in Biology
  • Provider Coursera
  • 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

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
4.8 Based on 43 reviews

  • 5 stars 93%
  • 4 star 0%
  • 3 star 2%
  • 2 star 2%
  • 1 star 2%

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  • 1
Jeffrey C
5.0 5 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.

7 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!
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.
7 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 4 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.
7 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 6 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This is an ideal way to learn about dinosaurs - a compact but concentrated course that teaches you all the concepts you need to know to have a basic but thorough understanding about dinosaurs and the context in which they rose, thrived, and finally died out.

The course is made easy through clear presentation and succinct content, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the natural history of our planet, not only dinosaur aficionados.

For those who watch and read anything they can about dinosaurs, this course will help you organise and better understand what you already know and add new concepts and facts to boot. The fact that this course was put together by such a giant in the field, as Phil Currie definitely is, only adds to the guarantee that you will receive a fun and fact full ride which is bound to inspire you to learn even more about this fascinating topic.

Highly recommended and utterly approved.

Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Kristina Š
5.0 6 months ago
by Kristina completed this course and found the course difficulty to be medium.
I really loved this course, the graphics were amazing and the lectures were intriguing, fun and full of interesting information. Even though the course material is sometimes difficult to follow, there are great lecture notes that accompany each video (not the slides or subtitles, but more like encyclopedia excerpts, and these were very nicely written and illustrated, and could serve as a book on its own). The quizzes were a bit too easy, and I liked the way you could pick your own pace since all the lectures and the quizzes were posted in advanced, but there were weekly e-mails giving insight into new material, but also in new paleontological discovery around the world. I'd recommend this course to anyone who wants to learn the scientific background about their childhood passion, and to be obnoxious among your friends by claiming that the most of the The Jurassic Parks is actually The Cretaceous Park!

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Anonymous
5.0 6 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I cannot thank Betsy and Philip enough for this course.

I started the course because my 8 year old son is a huge dinosaur fan and he was learning so much so fast I just couldn't keep up with answer to his questions.

I am so happy I found this course.

The course is amazing. It manages to start from the absolute basics put simply enough for even children to understand while still full of fact and detail and substance that kept me hooked too.

I thoroughly enjoyed every single minute of all 12 units.

The time I have shared with my son is so precious to me and I am so very greatful for the time with him. He thinks I am the best mum in the world for finding this course for him.

Cannot recommend this enough for anyone who just wants to know a little more.

We're hooked. Already looking for the next course...

Thanks so much.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
5.0 2 months ago
Anonymous completed this course.
The course presenters have done a wonderful job, to pique my interest in this field! The video's, in-video questions, quizzes and lesson pdfs provide you with a complete course, which allows you to read, listen, practice and test yourself on your knowlegde, at your own pace.

The many fossils they show, as well as the many examples and relations to modern-day animals, make the course very lively. It highly motivated me to see it through to the end.

Even after completing the course, I want to go through the lesson pdfs again, to revisit them and really integrate my knowledge, so I can take it even further.

Thanks, Betsy and Phil!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
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 6 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
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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.
5 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 6 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".
3 people found
this review helpful
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Tw H
5.0 5 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.
3 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 8 months 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
Gerald V
5.0 2 years 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 3 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.
2 people found
this review helpful
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Anonymous
5.0 6 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 a month ago
Anonymous completed this course.
This was a great experience! I revived and enlivened my childhood fascination of dinosaurs and the fossil collecting I did as a kid (wish I had them now!)

I learned so much, and the information was very well presented. Am very grateful for the opportunity to learn in this way. There is no way I am going to get to a physical college course, at 67, living in Northern New Mexico, and taking care of modern-day theropods, so this opportunity was such a gift. :)

Although my "retention" isn't what it used to be, I did well. And now I am on to Early Vertebrates. Oh boy!

Thank you U of A. Great course!

Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

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