Life, Earth and Evolution


Theme Description: Life, Earth and Evolution considers the history of life on earth including the origins of life, its long geologic history, and the evolution of humans. Basic principles of evolution, genetics and ecology help students understand the biological principles underpinning the history of life. Students can choose any two course in any order to satisfy this theme.

Theme Coordinator:   Dr. Susan Lappan



BIO 1102. Biology in Society II (4). F;S
This course will primarily focus on issues relating to life at the level of the organism outward. The course will examine the broad concepts of evolutionary processes, the interdependent nature of living organisms, the diversity of life, and the evolution of organ systems. These concepts will be examined by studies of societal issues such as the biodiversity crisis, human evolution, plants and agriculture, the threats from microbes, and issues in conservation ecology. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours. (CORE: NATURAL SCIENCES) (NUMERICAL DATA) (ND Prerequisite: passing the math placement test or successful completion of MAT 0010.) BIO 1102 WILL NOT SUBSTITUTE FOR BIO 1802 FOR SCIENCE MAJORS.

ANT 1430. Our Primate Heritage (4).F;S.
This course examines humans within an evolutionary and biocultural perspective. Students will be introduced to classic and contemporary literature on topics in human evolution and will have the opportunity to make their own observations and analyses within the laboratory. We will explore theoretical frameworks and controversies about important issues such as the nature of science, human variation, and the relationship between humans and our environment. Students will become familiar with evolutionary theory and heredity, primate evolution and basic comparative anatomy, and the fossil record of human evolution. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours.

GLY 1102. Introduction to Historical Geology (4).F;S.A study of the historical and biological aspects of the science of geology – tectonic models for understanding earth structure and lithospheric history, the physical and paleontological bases for understanding geologic time and dating rocks, biological principles relating to the evolution of organisms revealed in the fossil record, facts and theories of biological evolution, a survey of the evolution of organisms through time, the geologic history of North America, and discussion of the scientific aspects of the scientific-religious controversy of evolution vs. creationism. Lecture three hours, laboratory two hours. (CROSS-DISCIPLINARY; NUMERICAL DATA) (CORE: NATURAL SCIENCES) (ND prerequisite: passing the math placement test or successful completion of MAT 0010.)


How These Courses Integrate into Theme:

Students in each class will attend an event or activity related to climate change or paleo-environments to help link classroom topics to real-world events. Students will also complete assignments related to the museum display "Hall of Evolution" in Rankin Science West. In their labs and lectures, every student will learn about Olduvai Gorge or East African Rift Valley ecology.