This free online course explores how life on earth has been shaped by five mass extinction events in the distant past. As of August 2020 it is in the top 50 online courses on Class Central, and is the number 1 course in the Science category.
Explore the five mass extinctions of the past
Each week there are discussions with scientists about how their research informs us about the biodiversity of our planet including the very first life forms; fish and tetrapod diversification; the radiation of reptiles and dinosaurs; and the rise of mammals. We focus on the five previous mass extinction events that have shaped the biodiversity of our planet. The fossil record reveals evidence of species that went extinct during these mass extinctions and the new opportunities created for the surviving biota to diversify.
The threat of a “sixth extinction” today
Turning to the present and the anthropocene period, we look at how human behaviour is now beginning to impact the Earth’s ecosystems. We consider the threat of the so-called ‘sixth extinction’, finding out how our actions are reducing biodiversity and threatening the survival of many species.
Award winning MOOC
From 2017 this course has been in the top courses at Class Central, and as of August 2020 it is still in the top 50 online courses on Class Central, and is the number 1 course in the Science category. The course is still active, and myself and mentors are available during the course. For reviews, see class central.