Earth is a planetary system. It consists of many interconnected zones or “spheres,” including the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere. The focus of this course is the biosphere—the zone of life—and its ancient history. In this course, you will learn about the many diverse forms of life on Earth, both living and extinct, and their significance for the past, present, and future of our planet. Moreover, you will explore methods employed by paleontologists that study the fossil record, for example, methods for interpreting sedimentary rocks and reconstructing paleoenvironments based on fossils and using fossils as proxies for Earth surface processes in deep time. Finally, you will develop a number of transferable skills related to critical thinking, organization, collaboration, data analysis, and oral communication, in addition to learning disciplinary knowledge.