Images of prehistoric landscapes, creatures and human cultures abound in our society. This course discusses the scientific bases for reconstructing prehistoric environments and cultures. Information derived from field work in geology, paleontology and archaeology—stratigraphy, fossils, mineralogy and human artifacts—is used to piece together an ancient landscape and its life. The use of modern chemical and isotopic techniques to establish paleoclimates and water conditions is described. Information from taxonomy, biomechanics and comparative anatomy, physiology and genetics can “flesh out” the appearance and lifestyles of extinct groups. Equally important is how this scientific information is transformed into images, sculpture, dioramas and digital information that can physically visualize past life, culture and environments. The history of such depictions and the scientific techniques that have produced them is discussed in some detail. Notes: Satisfies a HuSS Elective. Credits: 3.
Prerequisites: Completion of first year writing requirements.