Teaching paleontology with an acid-leaching facility

J. A. Talent, R. Mawson, Malcolm I. Stewart

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Innovations as well as modifications of more traditional approaches to the teaching of undergraduate and graduate paleontology at Macquarie University have been developed to help teach large classes of internal students as well as external students. These modifications are aimed especially at our external students, many of whom are biologists rather than earth scientists. Pivotal to this effort has been a large acid-leaching facility for extraction of macro and micro silicified and phosphatic fossils. Use of this facility has made it possible to focus field work on collection of blocks for acid leaching, and laboratory work on identification of the resultant faunas to generic level. With this have been integrated exercises on the classification of selected major phyla, written evaluations of important papers, films on relevant biological topics, and use of fossil sets. It has thus been possible to de-emphasize the teaching of morphology per se and to minimize formal lecturing. Courses in functional morphology, biostratigraphic field work and in paleoecology and paleobiogeography have been developed from this background. The last of these includes a ten-day residential school in marine ecology-paleoecology on a coral cay. - from Authors

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-255
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Geological Education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1987


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