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Extinctions

Past and Present

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more The course is suitable for anyone with an interest in science or environmental issues. No previous experience is required. While scientific names are used, to for example identify extinct life forms, knowing these is not required to follow the course. We do offer glossaries and explain terms as we go along so you will be able to follow the themes of the course. You can use the hashtag #FLextinctions to talk about this course on social media.

Topics Covered
  • The five past mass extinctions and their impact on life on earth
  • What we know about the past from the fossil record
  • The earliest forms of life
  • From simple to complex life forms
  • Extinction and radiation as drivers of change
  • Likely causes of mass extinctions throughout earth’s history
  • Current threats to biodiversity
  • What we can do to reduce the risk of a ‘sixth extinction’

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FutureLearn

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University of Cape Town

Rating 4.9 based on 98 ratings
Length 5 weeks
Effort 3 hours per week
Starts May 13 (last week)
Cost $59
From University of Cape Town via FutureLearn
Instructors Janet Small, Andrew Deacon, Tasneem Jaffer, Michael Glover (Host), Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, Germán Montoya Sanhueza, Nicole Withers, Peter Atkins, Lauren Butler
Download Videos Only via web browser
Language English
Subjects Programming
Tags R Nature & Environment

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What people are saying

We analyzed reviews for this course to surface learners' thoughts about it

mass extinctions in 10 reviews

An excellent and highly informative course detailing the five mass extinctions, with reference to bacterial, fossilized faunal and floral species.

It gives you a short overview of what happened at each of the mass extinctions in Earth’s history, explaining why they happened (if we know!

For individuals, such as myself, who interested in understanding more about the scientific processes that have caused mass extinctions overtime, this course is a wonderful overview.

This has been an absolutely terrific course, covering the five known mass extinctions clearly and succinctly, and discussing the factors leading to a sixth possible mass extinction at present.

Takes you all the way through the past 5 mass extinctions and on to the current 6th mass extinction, looking at what we can all do to help prevent human activity being the reason behind this.

This course educate you about the 5 great mass extinctions that shaped life as it evolved during eons but it also aims to open your mind on the delicate balance of our unique planet, NOW.

I really enjoyed learning about life as it progressed from the earliest stages through all the mass extinctions to the present day.

Many people know about the end-Cretaceous mass extinction that ended the dinosaurs' dominance, but fewer have heard of the four other earlier mass extinctions.

anusuya chinsamy-turan in 9 reviews

We need more people with the dedication of Prof. Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan to break down the level of ignorance in the sciences.

The cheerful enthusiasm of Prof. Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan makes this wholly delightful.

Plenty of information presented by Dr Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan and a range of guest presenters.

Thank-you so much to Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, her team, and the excellent guest speakers for a thoroughly enjoyable course.

Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan most certainly put her heart and soul into putting together this brilliant course.

Thank you to Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan for organising this superb course.

Thank you Prof. Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan.

interviews with in 9 reviews

Additional material pertaining to journal articles and other reputable references have also been included for those who wish to learn more, with an added bonus of video transcripts of interviews with various biologists and conservationists.

Especially stimulating were the video interviews with a wide range of specialist scientists actively engaged with state of the art work in their fields.

Amazing course: Great interviews with passionate, informed people, and the loveliest warm and optimistic presenting Prof..you are going to learn lots and have a lot of fun doing it + you are going to "walk -out" of this course a slightly changed person.

There was a really good balance between the mini lectures and interviews with other experts, both of which were extremely well presented.

Several interviews with experts in a number of specific fields.

The course leader was enthusiastic and her interviews with other experts in the field were enlightening.

I was enjoying the interviews with scientists specializing in a wide range of special fields, from paleontology to birds ecology and landscape studies.

I found the short interviews with input from other specialists in the field, very interesting and stimulating.

enjoyed this course in 7 reviews

Overall I really enjoyed this course.

I extremely enjoyed this course.

Thoroughly enjoyed this course, the Lead Educator's enthusiasm and knowledge comes across strongly.

I enjoyed this course a lot.

Much to my surprise I have thoroughly enjoyed this course – which I chose because so many students I met on other MOOC's recommended it and I thought it would be something different as I knew very little of the subject.

I really enjoyed this course and learnt a great deal.

I really enjoyed this course.

cape town in 7 reviews

Well done Cape Town and I will look for more of your courses.

As you would expect from a course based in Cape Town there is heavy emphasis on African fieldwork and studies, but for me, this added to the enjoyment.

highly recommend in 7 reviews

I would highly recommend this course to anyone who has an interest in our earth's history.

I found this course itself to be excellent with an excellent lead educator and with some of the best additional 'AND ALSO' items I have ever seen on Futurelearn and would highly recommend it to others.

This was a really excellent course that I can highly recommend.

I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in the past, present and future of biodiversity on earth.

This is a great course and I highly recommend it.

I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the geological past or even those who wish to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve the natural environment.

Highly recommended.

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FutureLearn

&

University of Cape Town

Rating 4.9 based on 98 ratings
Length 5 weeks
Effort 3 hours per week
Starts May 13 (last week)
Cost $59
From University of Cape Town via FutureLearn
Instructors Janet Small, Andrew Deacon, Tasneem Jaffer, Michael Glover (Host), Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, Germán Montoya Sanhueza, Nicole Withers, Peter Atkins, Lauren Butler
Download Videos Only via web browser
Language English
Subjects Programming
Tags R Nature & Environment

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