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Department
Earth Sciences
Course
Earth Sciences 1083F/G
Professor
Cameron Tsujita
Semester
Fall

Description
Life on Planet Earth Notes September 10th - people used to be really puzzled as to what fossils were, how they came about, and where they were - dragons are the work of the earliest paleontologists, thought dinosaurs were dragons - always stuff missing from fossils (scraps - fill in the gaps) - used their imagination and past experience to fill the gaps - very common until scientific method was developed where you look at what you’ve got and go further but not too far - no coincidence that we have dragon myths in every culture across continents - recorded human history goes back 5000 years ago - ancient greeks came up with a sophisticated way (founders of philosophy) of explain- ing fossils - Aristotle was very imaginative and thought a certain number of images int he mystical and physical world that have a breath of life that penetrated them and became living things and others weren’t so lucky and their images were made in rock but not made liv- ing - used to be a strong tie between mystical and physical - European dragons - really fierce beast - Asian dragons - protected people - Elephant skull thought of as cyclops skull because of thousands to millions of years of erosion - Lots of fossils that we know what they are now but were puzzling before - Star-shaped fossils were thought of as fallen stars (actually minerals of calcite that have formed in squid-like animal) - segments of crinoid (relative of starfish) also thought of as fallen stars - bringing in hierarchy and higher beings and a supreme being and with humans having a natural way of classifying things - before Darwin they used to use “Great Chain of Being” - influence of religion comes into the way people’s general views and this was in place when Darwin lived - appreciate how heretical Darwin’s views were how we were animals that came from apes - Leonardo Da Vinci was a great philosopher, thinker, and scientist that made the con- nection between living and non-living things - you can find them in soft sediment like sand and mud and over time that sediment dried out and hardened - Archbishop James Ussher (Ireland) took with a lack of evidence (took empirical method to some extent but used only anecdotal evidence) counted the generations in the generations in the Bible and came up with a date of creation - things were skewed because of the nature of the evidence on what it was based on - the Church had such a strong hold on society that they said that people have to be- lieve this or they would be in trouble - fossils contradicted these dates that the Church came up with - Steno was a physician of a Danish duke (early scientists were usually physicians due to a lot of free time) - Steno received the head of a shark from somebody and figured out that what was once thought was the fossils of the tongue of a dragon resembled shark teeth - Steno made link between fossils and remains of once-living things - the Church still had a hold on people’s thoughts and their views on fossils - the first documented case of a femur of a dinosaur but was interpreted as the remains of a body part of a giant human who was a sinner that drowned in the great flood. - Robert Hooke used a microscope to find that fossils were of living things that don’t ex- ist anymore (stirred trouble with Church) - Carl Linnaeus classified living things in a two-named way (genus and species) - Linnaeus introduced fossil species representative of once-living things - Buffon re-examined the age of the Earth using an empirical method - Used different balls of iron and heated them up and let them cool down (thought that Earth was mainly iron) - Extrapolated the data to find out how long it would take for the Earth to cool down to its present state - Had to be diplomatic in way he presented this due to Church and the “Great Chain of Being” - Believed organisms could change through time because fossils looked nothing like any living organisms - Couldn’t figure out a way to explain it - Hutton came with the principle of uniformitarianism (present is key to the past) - We can find out what happened in the past by looking at the current state - He concluded that the Earth must be very old by seeing rocks eroded and mountains formed - Cuvier was a deeply religious guy and was against any ideas of evolution - School of thought of catastrophism that things occur very suddenly and stay the same for a long period of time and could apply to earth processes and living things - His concept of species going extinct and replaced with new ones due to catastrophes - Extinction suggests that the Bible is wrong in saying God created everything perfect - Cuvier having a high status let the Church let it go - Lamarck said that all evolutionary change is sum of small changes over many genera- tions that added up to very big changes. - His assumption was wrong because he thought they were imposed by changing envi- ronments in an organism’s lifetime - This was irrationally extended to other animals (Darwin believed this until he came up with natural selection - Smith was a humble surveyor that figured out the relative ages of strata by the fossils contained within (principle of faunal succession) September 12th - Darwin forced to go to medical school by his father but could not handle the idea of surgery with no anesthetics or the sight of blood and drops out - He goes to Cambridge to prepare for a career in the Church - Makes friends with Professor Hope and Darwin becomes fascinated with bugs and beetles - Through his father’s connections he goes on a trip to the Canary Islands on survey ship: H.M.S. Beagle as an unpaid naturalist - Main reason of trip was to map and explore southern coastline of South America and to take oceanographic measurements - Darwin gets seasick and lies down to read an exciting new book by Charles Lyell (brought geology into science by bringing Hutton and other ideas into one complete pack
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