Offered to students admitted to Year 1 in ALL
Major/Minor ALL
Course Type
Offer in 2021 - 2022 Y N
Course Code EASC1407
Date2022/01/20 07:27
Enquiry for Course Details
   <<< This course is not offered in 2021 - 2022. Course details are subject to change. >>>
EASC1407 Dinosaur Ecosystems (6 credits) Academic Year 2021
Offering Department Earth Sciences Quota ---
Course Co-ordinator TBC, Earth Sciences
Teachers Involved
Course Objectives This course aims to introduce:
-Dinosaur biology.
-How palaeontologists reconstruct ancient ecosystems using fossil and modern evidence.
-Traits and significance of a Late Cretaceous ecosystem.
In addition to these subject-specific aims, the course style and structure - particularly incorporated e-learning tools - are specifically designed to encourage the development of analytical skills and critical, logical, and lateral thinking. The course also provides opportunities to apply newly acquired knowledge.
Course Contents & Topics The course covers five topics:
1. Introduction to dinosaurs:
Dinosaur biology ranging from their appearance, classification and diet to their evolution and extinction. Introduction of the main field site visited virtually and discussed in the course: Late Cretaceous site of Erlian in the southern Gobi Desert of China.
2. Meat-eating dinosaurs - theropods:
Theropods discovered in Erlian, including their biology and insights into the preserved ecosystem.
3. Plant-eating dinosaurs - sauropodomorph and ornithischian dinosaurs:
Erlian's herbivores from the dominant hadrosaurian ornithischians to the rare sauropodomorphs and the rarer non-hadrosaurian ornithischians. Insights into herbivore biology at the time and into the local ecosystem.
4. Living with dinosaurs:
Non-dinosaurian reptiles, mammals, fish and invertebrates that lived with the dinosaurs of Erlian and their roles in the ecosystem.
5. Bringing dinosaurs and their ecosystems to life: evidence palaeontologists use to gain insight into dinosaur diet, behaviour, and growth.
Course Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

CLO 1 Memorise and correctly use the terminology covered.
CLO 2 Recall knowledge of dinosaur biology and demonstrate understanding of it in familiar and unfamiliar situations.
CLO 3 Remember how palaeontologists reconstruct ancient ecosystems using fossil and modern evidence and show understanding of it in familiar and unfamiliar situations.
CLO 4 Recall the traits and significance of the Late Cretaceous ecosystem of Erlian and compare and contrast Erlian with other contemporaneous ecosystems.
Pre-requisites
(and Co-requisites and
Impermissible combinations)
NIL
Course to PLO Mapping
Offer in 2021 - 2022 N        To be confirmed Examination To be confirmed
Offer in 2022 - 2023 N
Course Grade A+ to F
Grade Descriptors
A Demonstrate thorough mastery of the knowledge and skills required for attaining all the course learning outcomes. Show strong analytical abilities and strong critical and logical thinking. Evidence of lateral thinking and original thought. Ability to apply knowledge to a wide range of complex situations, both familiar and unfamiliar.
B Demonstrate substantial command of a broad range of knowledge and skills required for attaining at least most of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of good analytical abilities and good critical and logical thinking. Rare instances of lateral thinking and original thought. Ability to apply knowledge to familiar situations and some unfamiliar situations.
C Demonstrate general but incomplete command of knowledge and skills required for attaining most of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of some analytical abilities and some critical and logical thinking. Ability to apply knowledge to most familiar situations.
D Demonstrate partial but limited command of knowledge and skills required for attaining some of the course learning outcomes. Show evidence of some coherent and logical thinking, but only limited analytical abilities and limited critical thinking. Show limited ability to apply knowledge to solve problems.
Fail Demonstrate little or no command of knowledge and skills required for attaining the course learning outcomes. Lack of analytical abilities and lack of critical thinking, logical thinking and coherent thinking. Show little or no ability to apply knowledge to solve problems.
Course Type Lecture with laboratory component course
Course Teaching
& Learning Activities
Activities Details No. of Hours
Laboratory literature and specimen-based labs 24
Lectures e-lectures (video recordings) 24
Tutorials group discussions 12
Reading / Self study course textbook, topical scientific papers and other self study 90
Assessment Methods
and Weighting
Methods Details Weighting in final
course grade (%)
Assessment Methods
to CLO Mapping
Assignments lab assignments 60 CLO 1,2,3,4
Examination 2-hour examination 30 CLO 1,2,3,4
Test online weekly assessments (multiple-choice quizzes) 10 CLO 1,2,3,4
Required/recommended reading
and online materials
Recommended reading (e-books and regular books):

Dinosaur paleobiology. S.L. Brusatte. 2012. Wiley: New York. 322pp. [HKU main library e-book]

The complete dinosaur (2nd ed.). M.K. Brett-Surman, T.R. Holtz, Jr. & J.O. Farlow (eds.). 2012. Indiana University Press: Bloomington. 1128pp. [HKU main library e-book]

Dinosaurs: a concise natural history (3rd edition). D.E. Fastovsky, D.B. Weishampel, J. Sibbick. 2016. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. 477pp. [good for students with non-science backgrounds; HKU main library: 567.9 F251 d58]

The Dinosauria (2nd edition). Weishampel, D.B., Dodson, P., Osmolska, H. (eds.). 2004. University of California Press: Berkeley. 861pp. [more technical; HKU main library: 567.9 D58]
Course Website NIL
Additional Course Information This course is a flipped-classroom version of the award-winning HKU MOOC Dinosaur Ecosystem (Faculty of Science Teaching Innovation in E-learning Award and nominee of edX Prize for Exceptional Contributions in Online Teaching and Learning). E-learning components are hosted on the easy-to-use HKU Online Learning platform (https://learning.hku.hk/catalog/), whilst tutorials and labs are in person and include fossil specimens from the Department of Earth Sciences, Stephen Hui Geological Museum and the HKU Vertebrate Palaeontology Laboratory.
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