History of Extinction
9 units (3-0-6)
Humans are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction-the first to be caused by human activity. Extinction has been viewed in changing ways over the past 200 years, and this course takes an interdisciplinary approach to learning about the extinction process from a historical as well as a modern perspective. Our focus will be on the extinction of biological entities, but we will also touch on other systems that have disappeared: languages, technologies, habitats, and ways of living. Central to our endeavors will be asking what it means to live in this time of loss: Should we mourn? And if so, how do we mourn for what many or most of us do not see, but only read about? Finally, we will scrutinize what the practical effects of extinction have been, are, and will be. We will also make at least one visit to a natural history museum to view some extinct species behind the scenes.
The online version of the Caltech Catalog is provided as a convenience; however, the printed version is the only
authoritative source of information about course offerings, option requirements, graduation requirements,
and other important topics.