"Introduction to Paleontology, created in conjunction with the Smithsonian, takes you on a thrilling journey through Earth's history-from a lifeless planet to initial bursts of life, from extinctions to recovery, and ultimately to our world today. Relying considerably on the National Museum of Natural History's curatorial expertise and extensive collections of paleontological fossils, maps, records, and images, and taught by award-winning professor Stuart Sutherland, Professor of Teaching in the Department of Earth Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, this course explains how the science of paleontology developed-coalescing information from geology, biology, ecology, anthropology, and archaeology to help us better understand the fascinating and sometimes shocking history of our constantly changing planet. In this course, you will learn how fossils are formed, from single-celled organisms to megafauna, and how paleontologists use both fossils and trace fossils to learn about the minerology, climate, and atmospheric chemistry of the time. You'll learn about the mass extinctions that threatened the survival of life on earth and the ways in which life has recovered, adapted, evolved, and spread over time. You'll meet some of the fascinating creatures who are now extinct, including the 21st-century discovery and classification of Homo floresiensis on the Indonesian island of Flores. Dr. Sutherland concludes by explaining the ways in which paleontology can contribute to some of the challenges faced today by life on Earth and our exploration of other worlds."