The first ever Open University course that I did was the excellent “Fossils and the History of Life” course (course code S193).
It was a “short science course” and I enrolled on it to see if I wanted to study again. I picked this course as I wanted to study something I’d never studied before.
It was a great course with great materials: two fantastic books, a DVD/CD-ROM and a “fossil kit”. It wasn’t a chore to read the books, it was a pleasure.
One of the books, The Atlas of the Prehistoric World, is full of fantastic illustrations. I think it would even pass as a coffee table book:
Sadly the course is now discontinued.
The course got me completely and utterly addicted to studying again. I wanted to do a Geology degree. Now I am about a third of the way through a Physics Degree (specialising in Astronomy). It turns out that I’m rubbish at Geology!
Whilst studying the Fossils course, it was useful to learn and memorise the geologic eras:
|Pre-Cambrian||4,500 – 543 mya|
|Cambrian||543 – 490 mya|
|Ordovician||490 – 443 mya|
|Silurian||443 – 417 mya|
|Devonian||417 – 354 mya|
|Carboniferous||354 – 290 mya|
|Permian||290 – 248 mya|
|Triassic||248 – 206 mya|
|Jurassic||206 – 144 mya|
|Cretaceous||144 – 65 mya|
|Palaeogene||65 – 23 mya|
|Neogene||23 – 2.5 mya|
|Quarternary||2.5 mya – present|
(mya = millions of years ago)
An easy way to remember the order of these eras is to use the old trusty method of mnemonics:
For Cambrian to Cretaceous:
Camels Often Sit Down CARefully, PERhaps Their Joints CREak
For the full lot:
Professors Contend Older Strata Definitely Confirm Previous Times, Judging Current Period Non-Quiescent