OSHR 1802 - Six Great Events in the History of Life on Earth

  • Noncredit

This course is offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Colorado State University. You must be a member of Osher to enroll in this course.

From the origin of life on Earth 3.8 billion years ago to naked metazoans and the Cambrian Explosion to the colonization of land by plants and animals to the near extermination of Earth life in the end-Permian crisis to the rise of ruling reptiles and dinosaurs, and, finally, to the path to domination by the mammals, we will explore the biology and paleontology of these milestones in earth history.

Class instruction will include when selected life groups arose and will explore their subsequent history, leading to the organisms we recognize today. Life’s evolution, endurance, and elaboration will be highlighted.

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.


William Cornell

William Cornell earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geology at the University of Rhode Island and Ph.D. from UCLA. He taught geology at the University of Texas at El Paso, with stints as department chair, assistant dean of the College of Science, as "pre-med" advisor, and taught in the Osher Program at UTEP for 15 years. He received a number of teaching and service awards from UTEP. In 2007, he received the Silver Beaver Award from the Boy Scouts of America. He is a master naturalist in the Fort Collins Natural Areas Department.

Kevin J. Cook

Kevin J. Cook is a naturalist who has explored the expanse of Colorado and engaged the full diversity of its wildlife since 1974. Through writing, speaking, and teaching he shares his passion for life with other people, always emphasizing the themes of diversity, connectedness, and geography.