Biology 5350: Evolutionary Zoology-Spring 2012.  Course Information & Syllabus

D. Zeigler.     Office 2101A Science Bld.       Phone: 521-6610

CATALOG DESCRIPTION: A review of the basic workings of science, evolutionary concepts, &
the animal kingdom. Topics will include animal fossils, morphological & behavioral phylogeny,
& human evolution. (3 hours).

OBJECTIVES: To gain a more complete understanding of the nature of science with emphasis
on biological science, especially the large role which evolutionary theory plays in modern biology.
To learn more about the animal kingdom and to cover several particular cases (examples) of animal evolution.

ATTENDANCE: Attendance will certainly be expected at every class meeting, but there will be no formal attendance policy which rewards good attendance or punishes poor attendance. You are responsible for any missed material, which you must obtain from other students (except for handouts). A missed exam with a valid excuse will be made up at the instructor's convenience. The school does at times cancel classes for all or part of a day, usually due to bad weather. To find out if classes are running as usual, call the University Hotline at: (910) 521-6888.

GRADING: There will be three exams which will collectively count 90% of the course (30% each). Exam dates will be announced at least 3-4 days in advance. The last 10% will come from an individual assignment prepared for the class--a poster or oral presentation on some topic relevant to the course which will be graded by both the class and myself. There are no plus or minus grades in graduate school and no D grade. I will grade on the 10-point scale (80-89=B, etc.).

TEXT:  Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. 2009.

ETC. Please turn off your cell phones, or put them on vibrator mode if expecting an emergency call during class. Surely at the graduate level there is no need to stress that you should behave like adults in class and not be disruptive in any way. Due to the topic of this course, I know that one can easily slip into a put down of others who do not agree on some aspect of evolution. We (I) will make statements of fact and theory which all may not agree with, but no one should make insulting comments if someone shares a disagreement or doubt about the material.

DISABILITY: Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is required to speak directly to Disablility Support Services and the instructor as early as possible, preferably within the 1st week. All discussions will remain confidential. Please contact: Disability Support Services, DF Lowery Building, Room 107 or call 521-6695 for an appointment.


- - the science curriculum in the schools should reflect what scientists have accepted as the best that can be said about the natural world on the basis of the evidence available. (John A. Moore)
   Tentative Course Syllabus:
1. What is Science?

A. Definitions. Science is---, Science is not---.
B. Scientific Methods
C. The Values of Science
D. Limitations of Science
E. Reasons for Doing Science & the Values of Science
F. What is Biology? What is Zoology?
G. An Ordered Universe

2. Evolution and the Uniqueness of Biological Systems.

A. The Complexity of Biological Systems (multiple levels)
B. Multiple Specializations due to the Evolution of Diversity
C. The Historical Component. Contingency. Proximate & Ultimate Causation
D. Genetics & Variation. Sources of Variation.
E. Definitions of Evolution.


3. Evolution: The Unification of the Living World

A. What Darwin Did: Evolution, Natural Selection, & Adaptation.
           A "fit" to the environment
B. Other Mechanisms of Evolution: Genetic Drift, Neutral Evolution,     
           Symbiosis, etc.
C. Speciation & Adaptative Radiation
D. Sexual Selection
E. Homology & Convergence on Many Levels
F. Biological Selfishness: Increasing fitness, Inclusive fitness, Altruism(?).
G. The Evidence for Evolution
H. Science & other ways of thinking/knowing. Evolution--Creationism--Purpose?


4. Classification, the Animal Kingdom & Evolutionary Relationships

A. The Tree of Life, The Animal Phyla, & Evolutionary Relationships
B. The Vertebrate Classes & their Evolutionary Relationships
C. The Fossil Record & Phylogeny
D. The Molecular Record & Phylogeny
E. Phylogeny Applied to Extant Morphology, DNA, Behavior, etc.
F. Selected Examples: The Evolution of Land Vertebrates, of Whales, of Birds, of Humans, etc.