BIOLOGY 443: EVOLUTION OF MAMMALS

 My white board diagram of the evolution of the mammalian inner ear from the postdentary bones of nonmammalian synapsids.

My white board diagram of the evolution of the mammalian inner ear from the postdentary bones of nonmammalian synapsids.

I have been the TA for Biology 443: Evolution of Mammals for two quarters. This course covers the entire history of the mammalian lineage as recorded in the fossil record, from non-mammalian synapsids through current mammalian forms. I give occasional lectures to assist the main instructor, and lead a lab section that focuses on the morphological manifestations of the mammalian evolutionary trends discussed in lecture. Although the lab has a heavy focus on anatomy and terminology, I am particularly interested in encouraging students to think about mammalian structures from a three-dimensional, functional perspective, which is facilitated by the excellent extant and fossil mammal collections a the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. I also encourage my students to make lots of drawings - it really makes you pay close attention to every detail of the morphology, and diagramming evolutionary concepts (above, and gallery below) can go a long way to helping you remember them!

This lab is made possible by excellent collections managers at the Burke, and a veritable army of undergraduate and postbac peer facilitators (some of whom are pictured here).

 Students and peer TAs working together in the lab.

Students and peer TAs working together in the lab.

 Some of my excellent peer TAs from Spring 2017, who curated a largely nonsensical, sometimes informative series entitled "Hot Tips by Steph" during lab.

Some of my excellent peer TAs from Spring 2017, who curated a largely nonsensical, sometimes informative series entitled "Hot Tips by Steph" during lab.