This class focuses on the evolution and extinction of the vertebrates. We will first examine the normal processes of evolution and extinction and how they are reflected in the fossil record. We will then begin a tour of the fossil record supplemented as necessary with insights from living organisms. We will begin our deep dive into the past by examining what is known about the origin of our phylum. We will then survey the amazing diversity of fishes, amphibians, mammal-like reptiles, dinosaurs, and mammals over the next half billion years. We will focus throughout on transitional fossils and the various processes that have driven evolution and extinction over time.