Earth Science Lecture 3: The Extinction of the Dinosaurs and the Importance of Rare Events

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In this final lecture of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the scientific exploration of the nature of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. He explores the alternative hypotheses for the event that have been put forward over the years and provides examples of current supporting evidence. The lecture also emphasizes how dogma can be the enemy of scientific progress when it causes scientists to see what they expect to see instead of what the data actually shows. A lecture transcript and companion PowerPoint presentation are also available on FoSO.

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Earth Science Lecture 3: The Extinction of the Dinosaurs and the Importance of Rare Events

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Resource type:

In this last of three lectures in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the scientific exploration of the nature of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. He explores the alternative hypotheses for the event that have been put forward over the years and provides examples of current supporting evidence. The lecture also emphasizes how dogma can be the enemy of scientific progress when it causes scientists to see what they expect to see instead of what the data actually shows. A lecture video and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

Events at the K-T Boundary Layer in New Zealand: A Case Study

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In this class activity, students will investigate data on the fossil record at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. They will apply their understanding of geology, meteorology, and related disciplines in order to determine whether or not the fossil record supports a meteorite strike playing a role in the extinction of the dinosaurs. This document contains student handouts; an instructor guide is provided in the accompanying documents.

Events at the K-T Boundary Layer in New Zealand: A Case Study

Discipline:

In this class activity, students will investigate data on the fossil record at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. They will apply their understanding of geology, meteorology, and related disciplines in order to determine whether or not the fossil record supports a meteorite strike playing a role in the extinction of the dinosaurs. This document serves as an instructor guide; student handouts are provided in an accompanying document.

Earth Science Seminar 3

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This document serves as a teaching guide for the third of three seminars in a unit on earth science. This seminar focuses on the relationship between the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary and dinosaur extinctions and encourages review of scale, probability, causation, and correlation. The guide includes an overview and reading list. Related seminar activities and assignment questions are provided in accompanying files.

Earth Science Lecture 3: The Extinction of the Dinosaurs and the Importance of Rare Events

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Cretaceous Earth impact drawing.

In this last of three lectures in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the scientific exploration of the nature of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. He explores the alternative hypotheses for the event that have been put forward over the years and provides examples of current supporting evidence. The lecture also emphasizes how dogma can be the enemy of scientific progress when it causes scientists to see what they expect to see instead of what the data actually shows. A lecture video and transcript are also available on FoSO.

Biodiversity Lecture 1: What is the Problem? or “The Great Unraveling”

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What is the Problem? or “The Great Unraveling”

In this first lecture video of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on biodiversity, Columbia University professor Don Melnick identifies ecological problems on a global scale, such as degradation of land and aquatic ecosystems, accumulation of greenhouse gases, decline of species and emerging infectious diseases. The basic science behind investigating the problems facing humans in the twenty-first century is discussed at 3 different scales: gene, species and ecosystem. A lecture transcript and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

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Biodiversity Lecture 2: Why Should We Care? or “Size Matters”

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Why Should We Care? or “Size Matters”

In this second lecture video of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on biodiversity, Columbia University professor Don Melnick introduces the theory and models that help us understand the current and future consequences of biodiversity loss. The lecture further emphasizes the fact that ecosystems provide services to humans – termed “Ecosystem Services”. These services are rapidly being depleted by global biodiversity loss. A lecture transcript and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

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Biodiversity Lecture 3: How Do We Fix It? or “A Reversal of Fortune”

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How Do We Fix It? or “A Reversal of Fortune”

In this third lecture video of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on biodiversity, Columbia University professor Don Melnick provides examples of ecological restoration at the scale of genes, species, and ecosystems and discusses the important role that experiments and large-scale studies play in understanding complex systems. A lecture transcript and companion presenttion are also available on FoSO.

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Biodiversity Lecture 3: How Do We Fix It? or “A Reversal of Fortune”

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In this third lecture of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on biodiversity, Columbia University professor Don Melnick provides examples of ecological restoration at the scale of genes, species, and ecosystems and discusses the important role that experiments and large-scale studies play in understanding complex systems. A lecture video and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.