Earth 102-6 --- Freshman Seminar: Death of the Dinosaurs
Fall Quarter 2018 - Mon, Wed: 2-3:20PM

Professor: Donna M. Jurdy

Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences

Professor Donna Jurdy's Fall seminar visited The Field Museum for a behind-the-scenes
tour led by curators Bill Simpson (above) and Akiko Shinya. Click here for more pictures

The death of the dinosaurs as well as theories and evidence for other catastrophic extinctions will be examined. Dinosaur hunters; geological time; the history of life on earth; dinosaur classification and behavior; plate tectonics, periodicities and cosmic occurrences and the search for Nemesis, the "Death Star" will be included in the seminar. The development of research skills and use of the Northwestern Library will be stressed. Also, documentation of sources in writing and academic integrity will be emphasized.


Google Scholar

Winner of 2011 Freshman Seminar Writing Award Competition:
        Hannah Fisher, Repenomamus Giganticus's Last Adventure: download paper here

  Voyager Scavenger Hunt   (send email response using connection at bottom of page)

             1.   book, "T Rex and the Crater of Doom", title approx, Walter Alvarez
                        What is call #, do we have, what is status? Does Evanston Public Lib. have?
                         Are the call numbers the same at the two libraries?
             2.   Locate the text of "Making an Exceptional Impact" in Astronomy magazine
                         What were the impacts? (Cosmic & terrestrial)
                         Is this issue available here? Which library has it?
                         What year did comet Shoemaker-Levy disrupt the surface of Jupiter?
                         When were the subsequent impact movies?
             3.   Find the very recent paper published arguing that Jupiter has played an
                         important role in protecting Earth from cosmic impacts.
             4.   Find the details of the study on DNA extracted from a TRex bone.
             5.   Recently the color of a dinosaur was inferred.
                         Find the publication of this. How was the link with color reasoned out?


Paper #1  Dinosaurs and You  ( 1-2 pages, due Monday, September 29)
            Discuss yourself, where you're from, your major, travel,
              and your thoughts on college life. Have there been any surprises?
            What experiences brought you to this seminar?
            Why do you think the 'One Book' was chosen for this year's discussion?
            How does it change how you think about farming or Africa?

Field Museum  Field Trip  (to be planned)

Paper #2,  Paul Sereno, Dinosaur Hunter    (3-4 pages, DRAFT due Wed., Oct. 10th)
             Cover the person, his background and education. .
             How did he get into the paleontology and dinosaurs, specifically? Go into his discoveries, the significance.              What is he currently doing? How does he organize an international expedition to hunt for dinosaurs?

             Use appropriate reference citations and a direct quote. Hand in one periodical article w/paper.
            Use 5-6 authoritative sources (3 books, 3 articles minimum). Paper can be revised and handed in
            again for grade.

Paper #3,   "Herding with the Hadrosaurs (4-5 pages; due Wed., Nov. 2nd)
            Write a critique of the short story by Michael Bishop,
            how their lives are portrayed in the story, how they reproduced, ate, protected themselves.                                     Why were they so successful, numerous, long-lived and widespread?
            Use several periodicals (either print or on-line), turning at least one in with your paper, along with peer-reviewed first draft.
            Use books; limit use to authoritative websites.
            Use semi-colon at least once.

Final Paper #4  Your Choice of Fiction or Topic (7-8 pages, due NOON, Saturday, December 3rd,                                     end of WCAS Reading Period
             Topics can be anything related to the course: a specific dinosaur type or group, mammal-like reptiles, flying or swimming reptiles, early mammals; the dinosaur collections of one of the world's great dinosaur museums or a location where dinosaurs are found, a dinosaur hunter; the hisory of paleontology or ideas on dinosaurs, theories of evolution; dinosaur lifestyles, warm vs. cold-blooded dinosaurs, parental care, herding behavior; dinosaurs in art, film, making of Jurassic Park series; the K-T event or an earlier extinction, comets, asteroids, diversion of impacters, black matter in the universe; life on other planets, SETI (the search for extra-terrestrial life). Any of these topics could bepresented as a straight research paper or be the theme of a short story.
             Please hand in your final paper at my office Tech F496 or in the mailbox just outside or in the Earth & Planetary Sciences Earth & Planetary Sciences Office, Tech F379.

2015 Presentation Schedule:

Wed, Nov. 11
Jacob Murray - Impact Scenario
Brandon Rafidi - TRex
Danielle McCallister - Warm- vs. Cold-Blooded Dinosaurs
George Kepertis - Permian-Triassic Extinction

Mon, Nov. 16
Trae Williams - Stegosaurs
Charles Fessler - Making of movies, JP
Nate Woods - Ankylosaurs
Joshua Smith - Dinosaurs-Bird Connection - Prehistoric sharks

Wed, Nov. 18

Drew Bosset - Trex (Fiction)
Tyus Loman - Mososaur lifestyles
Yufan Yang - Leipluerodon or Super Croc
Victor Yin - Brachiosaurs

Mon, Nov. 23
Kevin Zhu - Triceratops
Lloyd Yates - Cretaceous Scene (Fiction)
Ben Paoleli - Dinosaurs in Pop Culture

Wed, 11/25, no class, workshop on final paper

2014 Presentation Schedule:

Wed, Nov. 12
Matt Dulas - Origin of Life
Katie Braun - Making of JP
Nick Kryza - Velociraptor
Jennifer Delgado - Cloning Dinosaurs

Mon, Nov. 17
Adam Cohen - SETI
Summer Zhang - Social Behavior
Ben Oxley - KT Scenario (Fiction)
Graham Anderson - Pachycephlasaurus

Wed, Nov. 19

Alex Keller - Jack Horner, Dinosaur Hunter
Jacob Rowden - Crocodiles, survivors
Troy Xu - Velociraptor, Fiction
Solomon Vault - Spinosaurus

Mon, Nov. 24
Dom Zona - Permian Mass Extinction
Cari Schuette - Sea Reptiles (Fiction)
Christina Zhao - Archeopteryx
Tiffany Anderson - Trex Sue, Legal Issues

Wed, 11/26, no class, workshop on final paper

2013 Presentation Schedule:

Wed, Nov. 13
Jonah Kaplan - Crocodiles
Rimsha Ganatra - Coelophysis
Maalik DeFreitas - Birds and dinosaurs
Elleana Shepperd - Asteroid, comet diversion

Mon, Nov. 18
Grant Cohen - KT scenario
Annika Hansen- Sea reptiles of Mesozoic
Heather Deng - Color of dinosaurs
David Marin - Prehistoric sharks

Wed, Nov. 20

Leah Downs - Sea predators
Jayme Taylor - Dinosaur lifestyles
Alex Gordon - Trex Sue
Mark Gorogianis - Life at the KT

Mon, Nov. 25
Quinn Baker - Dinosaur cloning
Matt Alviti - TRex: scavenger vs. hunter
Negatwa Tewodros - Life and times of Diplodocus

Wed, 11/27, no class, workshop on final paper

Sat, 12/7, 9AM Final paper due, End Reading Period

2011 Presentation Schedule:

Wed, Nov. 9
Jennifer Hare - Permian Extinction
Sara Fadlalla - Brachiosaurs
Jean Chang - Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life
Asim Aziz  -  Making of Jurassic Park

Mon, Nov. 14
Nick VanHoose - Asteroid Diversion
Tyler Munci - Triassic Extinction
Rameez Jafri - Armored Dinosaurs
Katrina Hurst - Cloning Dinosaurs

Wed, Nov. 16

Mac Mastrangeli - Dinosaur Bird Connection
Rick Gattone - Trex Sue
Leah Bowman  -  Dinosaurs in 'Terra Nova', tv series

Mon, Nov. 21
Erika Schonher - Late Cretaceous Carnivores
Jacon Lamberth  -  Jack Horner, Dinosaur Hunter
Sabrina D'Agostino - Raptors
Michael Knudsen - KT Scenario

Wed, 11/23, no class, workshop on final paper

2010 Presentation Schedule:

Wed, Nov. 10
Will Crandall - Trex
Paul Jorgensen - Stegosaurus
Nolan Adams - Pterosaurs
Ryo Kawashima - Permain Event

Mon, Nov. 15
Vincent Huang - Dinosaur Ancestors
Tommy Yu - Sauropods (Fiction)
Gabby Budzon - Dinosaurs in Jurassic Park
Hannah Fisher - Early mammals

Wed, Nov. 17
Michael Muzyka - Origin of life
Alex Matelski - KT Event
Adam Sperber - Ceratosaurus (Fiction)
Maddy Schweid - Bird-dinosaur connection

Mon, Nov. 22
Daniel Han - Velociraptors (Fiction)
Max Reid - Loch Ness monster
Dane Stier - Spinosaurus
Harry Hulsh - Prehistoric sharks

Wed, 11/24, no class, workshop on final paper

Papers due: Mon, Dec. 6th, 10AM, beginning of Exam Week

2009 Presentation Schedule:

Wed, Nov. 11
Lakshman Mody - Triceratops (Fiction)
Davon Custis - KT Event (Fiction)
Ryan Best - Raptors
Saaquib Baksh - Stegosaurus (Fiction)

Mon, Nov. 16
Kyle Trimble - TRex (Fiction)
Damien Proby - Permian Extinction
John Fernandez - Maiasaur (Fiction) -
Devlin Brannon - Flying Reptiles (Fiction)

Wed, Nov. 18
Rebecca Sclater - Raptors (Fiction)
Chloe Kim - Dinosaur Meat
Andrea Kim - Ankylosaurus (Fiction)
Jenny Fang - Protoceratops (Fiction)

Mon, Nov. 23
Meghan White - Cretaceous Mammals (Fiction)
Chris Rowe - Pachycephalosaurs
Paul Choi - Theories for evolution
Meg Baglien - Sue, legal issues

Pizza Dinner following, compliments of WCAS

2008 Presentation Schedule:

Wed, Nov. 12
Emily Rockoff - Permian Extinction
Anne Retson - Loch Ness Monster, Pleiseosaur?
Miles Howell - Stegosaurus
Jay Ahn - Evolution in the Future

Mon, Nov. 17
Ross Zhan - Triceratops
Lester Tsai - Dinosaur Extinction Theories
Richard Noh - Genetic Engineering
Cody Lawrence - Raptors, Social Life

Wed, Nov. 19
Xiaowen Wang - Origin of Life I
Stacy Vinokur - Raptors & Birds
Parth Sharma - Making of "Jurassic Park"
Jonathon Roullard - Asteroids & Impact

Mon, Nov. 24
Samantha Wei - Maiaosaurus
Richie Kay - Discovery of Oldest Dinosaurs (Fiction)
Mike Johnson - Liopleurodon
Katherine Bassel - Origin of Life II

Pizza Dinner following, compliments of WCAS

Final Paper: due 10AM on Monday, December 8th, start of Exam Week.

2007 Presentation Schedule:

Mon, Nov. 13
Alex Sarver - Dinosaurs as Birds
Neil Pancal - Deinonychus
John Kang - KT Survivors
John Shabosky - TRex Sue

Wed, Nov. 15
Britta Helwig - Dinosaurs as Parents
Katherine Warga - Dinosaur Extinction
Anthony Feenick - Comet
John Webber - Polar Dinosaurs

Mon, Nov. 20
Omar Nevarez - Permian Extinction
Monisha Banerjee - Mesozoic Mammals
Katie Halpern - Gigantosaurus
Kosar Bishop - Velociraptor
Nick Sahai - T-Rex (fiction)

pizza dinner following, compliments of WCAS

Final Paper is due Monday, 10AM, December 8th, the beginning of Exam Week.


2006 Presentation Schedule and Topics:

Wed, 11/10 David Sum - Permian Extinction Caroline Barry - History of Ideas on (KT) Extinction

Mon, 11/15 Ani Schmidt - Fiction Michael Kane - Sea Level Changes Peter Bartleson - Dinosaur Metabolism Amy Alvarez - Sue, the Trex (Fiction)

Wed, 11/17 Melissa Solomon - Dinosaur Museum(s) Kristopher Rottmuller - Allosaurus (Fiction) Aileen Kang - ? Monica Boen - Dinosaur Fiction

Mon, 11/22 Aaron Yoon - Crocodiles Eugene Park - Early Mammals (Fiction) Wendy Culp - Climate Change & Volcanism Paul Baumbusch - Trex Fiction **** Pizza Dinner ****

Fri, 12/3 - Tour Field Museum Sue, and behind the scenes of the Life Through Time Exhibit renovation

Mon, 12/6 - Final Paper Due       

Previous Years' Presentation Schedule and Topics:

           Mon, 5/15
                            Ravi Patel                            Extra-terrestrial Life
                            Seth Chodosh                    Deinocheiras (fiction)
                            Nader Tehrani                             ???
                            Reed Walker                           Triceratops (fiction)

           Wed, 5/17
                            No Class                                

           Mond, 5/22
                            Philip Wong                               Origin of Life
                            Brook Bulcha                          Ice Age
                            Ben Mendelsohn                       Bird-Dinosaur Link
                            Jeremy Kross                             Mammals

                            James Smith                                    Roy Chapman Andrews

           Wed, 5/24
                            Vince Inendino                          Asteroids
                            Miki Sawada                         Dinosaurs in Culture
                            Adam Gil                               Polar Dinosaurs
                            Ki Ryang Hong                    

...And More:

           Wed, 11/12
                            Cory Waxman                            Dinosaur-Bird Controversy
                            Michael Kozminski                    Hadrosaur/Lambeosaur Resonance
                            Tasnim Imran                             Martian Meteorites
                            Tim Gaulton                               Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligance

           Mon, 11/17
                            Matt Uechi                                 Eggs and Nests
                            Maya Ragavan                          Robert Bakker
                            Luke Mennella                          Children's Dinosaur Story
                            Christian Larson                      Dinosaurs in Film

           Wed, 11/19
                            Alfie Tam                                    Loch Ness Monster
                            Chada Saetie                            Bone Wars: Cope  & Marsh
                            Samar Rashid                           Extinction Theories
                            Tim Lee                                      Post K-T Recovery

           Mon, 11/24
                            Josh Whitcraft                          Warm vs. Cold Blooded Dinosaurs
                            Pete Tsambaris                         Permian Extinction
                            Michael Liang                           Crocodile  Survival
                            Amanda Cordova                     Dark Matter in the Universe

 ****   Pizza Dinner  ****

       Earlier Presentation Schedule and Topics:

           Wed, 11/14
                            Reuben Subramaniam           Tunguska Event
                            David Johnson                       T-Rex - Predator or Scavenger
                            David Lee                                Dinosaur Extinctions
                            Sree Uppulari                         Nemesis, the Death Star

           Mon, 11/19
                            Shaun Warkentin                    Fiction, Late Triassic
                            Aravinda Kuntimaddi              Dinosaurs and Birds
                            Nick Collins                             K-T Scenario
                            Tess Bittermann                      Warm vs Cold-Blooded Dinosaurs

           Mon, 11/26
                            Joey Elkins                               Fiction, Dinosaur Life
                            Dan Zablotney                          Asteroid Diversion
                            Kevin Anderson                       Adaptions of Herbivores-Predators
                            Fufei Zhang                              Dinosaur Cloning, Fiction

           Wed, 11/28
                            Janet Vadaparampil                Predatory Dinosaurs
                            Kate Botler                               Dinosaurs in Film
                            Jonathan DeLeon                    SETI
                            Alyssa Rosato                         Permian Extinction
  ****   Pizza Dinner  ****

        Earlier Presentation Schedule and Topics:

           Mon, 11/6
                            Chris McCrae                          T-Rex: Predator or Scavenger?
                            Molly Keegan                          Dinosaur Digestion (Children's Story)
                            Diana Breeding                       Dinosaur Cloning

           Wed, 11/8
                            Nicole Ouellette                     Marine Reptiles
                            Michael Herbert                     Stegosaurus (Short Story)
                            Jennifer Edwards                   Radiometric Dating

           Mon, 11/13
                            Patrick Smith                         Origin of Life
                            Janjri Jasami                          Dinosaurs in Film
                            Lindsey Claar                         Dinosaurs & the Great Flood

           Mon, 11/20
                            David Williams                      SETI
                            Mark Thatcher                       Asteroid Diversion
                            Lee Nakamura                       Pterosaurs ****   Pizza Dinner  ****

        Previous Year's Presentation Schedule and Topics:

           Mon, 11/15
                            Simone Peart                       Warm- vs Cold-Blooded Dinosaurs
                            Marcy Naylor                       T-Rex - Predator or Scavenger?
                            Obaid Jaweed                      T-Rex Discoveries
                            Glen Lakin                            Fiction - Impact

           Wed, 11/17
                            Ben Wu                                Dinosaurs and Religion
                            Viral Patel                            Styles of Evolution
                            Jessica Martin                    K-T Impact Fiction
                            Santiago Juarez                 Dinosaur Fiction
                            Adam Brown                       Fiction - Hadrosaurs

           Mon, 11/22
                            Lisa Tegtmeyer                  Dinosaurs & Children
                            Tom Strandness               NASA & Asteroid Disversion
                            Shivani Patel                    Search for Nemesis
                            Melissa Berger                 Dinosaurs and Film


                  ****   Pizza Dinner  ****


  • Dinosaurs: A Concise Natural History, Spencer G. Lucas, Camrbridge, 2009 .
  • Harbrace College Handbook, 18th ed., Harcourt Brace College Pub., 2013.
WWW Resources

Note on Literature Citations

Dinosaur Museums:

Continental Drift:
Geologic Time:
Plate Tectonics:
Space Missions and the Solar System:

Mount St. Helens, Before and After 1980


Mount St. Helens Today: VolcanoCam

Allosaurus at the Price, Utah Museum

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