Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Next up it's Darwin and Evolution

If only life wasn't so hectic and busy! If only I had the time to do what I REALLY want to do, namely study geology full time and blog away to my hearts content. Alas 'life' gets in the way so often and with my review of my fossil course only part done, I now have the course material for my next course in front of me. No time then, for that journey through time I'd hoped to do through the fossil record. Another time perhaps? I should be touching on it anyway, as I progress through the next endeavour.

For the next ten weeks or so, I will be immersed in everything 'Darwin' and 'Natural Selection'! On May 15th, S170 - Darwin and Evolution commences and it looks like it will be another fascinating course.

So many things about evolution and the fossil record puzzle me. For example, if evolution takes place slowly, there must have been innumerable transitional forms of all creatures, which logically should be represented in the fossil record. But, by and large this seems not to be the case. A first dip into the course book shows that Darwin believed the answer simply lies in the imperfections of the fossil record. The introduction hints at evidence for the important transitions in the history of life on earth, so I'm looking forward to finding out more and maybe dispelling a few myths. 

The course book we have been supplied with is called '99% Ape - How Evolution Adds Up', and there is also a DVD of programmes to watch. Strangely there is an experiment/project for us to undertake that involves collecting snails from the garden which is intriguing! Some past students have apparently been unable to take part due to a lack of said creatures, but there will be no such problems for me I don't think - we're over-run with the darn critters here in the East Midlands!

Unlike the previous fossil course which was assessed by a single computer marked assignment, this one will involve actually writing stuff and answering questions to be marked by a human! I much prefer that to be honest. You can't beat the personal interaction with a tutor so I'm looking forward to 'kick off' in 10 days time!

This  next Sunday, 9th May I am going on my very first geology field trip with the Open University Geological Society - an 'Introduction to Geology Day' at Tideswell in Derbyshire, which sounds like the perfect way to start. We'll be looking at sedimentary and igneous rocks and I'm really looking forward to meeting new people and 'learning by doing' in the great outdoors. This will also be the debut for my brand new walking boots too! I'll let you know how it went next week!

Cheers for now!

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