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Lifelong Learning - Paleontology, Past Life, and Politics: from Bears Ears to Bloomington

March 16 to 23, 2023 at 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. EDT
Hosted Virtually by IUAA

Two Thursdays, March 16, 23

6:30–8:00 p.m. ET

$40 per person


Dinosaurs, neanderthals, trilobites: fossils like these reveal the fascinating history of life on Earth through the science of paleontology. But science—like all human endeavors—intersects with politics, commerce, and society, often with clashes of purpose and interests. In this class, participants will learn about both the science and the politics.

Starting with Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments in Utah, we will learn why the paleontology of these areas was so important that scientists took legal action when they were downsized in 2017, as well as how their downsizing and later restoration fit into America’s political landscape. In doing so, we will learn about the rise and fall of dinosaurs and their ecosystems. 

In the second session we will learn about the paleontology of Indiana, the pre-dinosaurian world that it reveals, and how the principles and laws that protect the fossil resources of Utah apply to the Hoosier state and elsewhere.

*Please note: this course is a virtual learning opportunity held via the online platform, Zoom. The link needed to participate will be supplied via email prior to the first class session.

About the Instructor:


David Polly is a paleontologist in IU’s department of earth and atmospheric sciences. A vertebrate paleontologist, he studies the evolution of mammals in the fossil record. Polly served as the president of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, a professional organization dedicated to both the science of paleontology and fossil preservation.