M103 | Before Barney: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs


1:30pm - 3:00pm


9/21, 10/5, 10/19, 10/26, 11/2

(No class 9/28, 10/12)

Five sessions

This course is offered online via the free, easy-to-use Zoom program.

Before Barney, before Jurassic Park, before Indiana Jones, dinosaurs captivated our  imagination.  Amazing recent discoveries, new investigative methods, and the development of a powerful conceptual tool have, in the last 30 years or so, created a resurgence of dinosaur obsession.  The course will orient the student to the Age of Reptiles, introduce highlights of American paleontology, review the evidence for the dinosaur-to-birds link, look at T. Rex and his carnivorous cousins, and lament the extinction of these magnificent Mesozoic creatures in the cataclysmic event that ushered in the Age of Mammals.

Recommended Reading: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Steve Brusatte. William Morrow, 2018.

After a career in medicine, Steven Somkin returned to his two real loves: playwriting and the ancient Greeks (his B.A. was in philosophy with a particular emphasis on Plato). An award-winning playwright, he has written 17 full length and a dozen short plays which have been produced in New York City, the Berkshires, and regionally. He is a co-founder and current leader of the now disbanded Greek Geeks, a group of intellectual misfits devoted to reading the plays of ancient Greece. He also serves as a docent in paleontology and biodiversity at the American Museum of Natural History. 


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