California State University, San Bernardino

Department of Biology / College of Natural Sciences

Biology 622 – Seminar in Zoology; Basal Amniota

Dr. Stuart S. Sumida

Winter 2014; Thursday 10:00-11:50; BI-101



Course Information

Instructor:  Dr. Stuart S. Sumida           

Office location:  BI-314

Telephone: 909-537-7338


Office hours: Tuesday 3:00-14:00; Thursday 3:00-5:00 

Class Days/Time: Thursday 10:00-11:50

Classroom:  BI-101


Course Description

Survey of the structure and evolutionary relationships of basal members of the vertebrate clade Amniota. Each of the major groups of Diadectomorpha, Eureptilia, and Parareptilia will be examined in terms of structure phylogenetic relationships, temporal distribution, and paleobiogeographic distribution. Two hours lecture and plus student presentations. Prerequisite: BIOL 342 or an equivalent course from another institution is required. BIOL 524 strongly recommended.  This course is a Biology Department graduate level course.  It satisfies graduate elective unit requirements and may be applied to category C requirements.


Course Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes

This heading must read exactly as shown above, ŇStudent Learning Objectives.Ó Please do not edit it.

Wherein by University directive we challenge student to find the actual material for the course buried in the mountains of required text and restate what we just said in the course description above using the latest buzzwords- in this case, ŇSLOsÓ.  Student Learning Outcomes are the knowledge, skills, attitudes, competencies, and habits of mind that our students are expected to acquire. 

Graduate Program SLOs have not been established but we are required to use this template so I will make them up as I go.  Because Seminar topics change from year to year, there are no standard embedded questions possible. In BIOL 622, students will be expected to:


Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

BIOL 622 Course-specific Assessment

Biology M.S. SLO

Scientific Writing

Students will demonstrate the ability to produce a paper written in the format of a scientific journal article.



Final Examination Project

Biology M.S. SLO

Understanding Research Results from Examination of the Primary Literature.

Students will demonstrate the ability to determine the primary outcomes of research projects based on reading primary literature articles.



In-class presentations

Weekly class participation

Weekly written summaries of that sessionŐs main topic.


Required Reading

Selections from the primary literature accompany each weekŐs presentations.  Introductory papers are listed with the weekly topics.  The presenter working with Dr. Sumida my add to these readings

Students are expected to have read all assigned material prior to the beginning of the designated lecture section.


Policy on Attendance and Recording of Lectures: 

All lectures are the copyrighted property of the instructor.  Audio recordings of lectures may be made for individual use only.  They may not be sold, reproduced, or redistributed in any way.  Although tape recorders may be used as a study aid, they may not be used in lieu of attendance.  Attendance is not monitored, but it is expected of all students.  Students who miss a class session must acquire the course notes from a fellow classmate.  The instructorŐs lecture materials will not be distributed to individuals in the class.


Office Hours: 

Dr. SumidaŐs office hours will be held in room BI-314 on Tuesdays from 10:00 to 12:00, and Thursdays from 3:00 to 5:00.  Additional hours will be added once the instructorŐs and studentsŐ schedules are evaluated.  Additional hours are normally scheduled near midterm and final examinations. Students may send questions to Dr. Sumida via e-mail at:

E-mailed questions for CSUSB courses are normally answered within 48 hours.  Answers may be to multiple students if more than one student asks a similar question via e-mail.  To facilitate speed of response, please make some kind of reference to Biology 622 in the subject line.


Web Resources

Please note, web resources for this course are on Dr. SumidaŐs webpage, and not on Blackboard.  The class syllabus, updates on grades, and summaries of lecture activities are available as PowerPoint and PDF files will be available on the course website:

Please note, all files are currently available, but these files could be changed and updated as new information becomes available for any particular topic.  Please check for updates periodically. These files are meant as a study aid only and without the accompanying lecture information do not represent a complete overview of the course.  They are intellectual property of the instructor, Dr. Stuart Sumida, and are for student use in Biology 622 only and may not be otherwise distributed or reproduced.


Grading Policy

Grading Procedures:

á      A total of 500 points will be available subdivided into the following categories:

á      In-class participation – 45 points (nine classes, 5 points each week)

á      Weekly summaries of presentations (not required for the week student runs a presentation) due week following presentation.– 45 points (nine presentations, 5 points each summary)

á      In-class presentation – 200 points

á      Final Project due at beginning of class session, finals week – 210 points


Weekly Summary of Presentations  -- Details

For each weekŐs presentation students will provide Dr. Sumida with a summary in the following elements:  (1) a tabular list of major taxa of the group, the locality data of their recovery, and time period of recovery; and (2) One major concept learned from that session – no more than one paragraph in length


In-class Presentation – Details

Each week Dr. Sumida will address one or more of the major groups of basal amniotes.  He will provide an anatomical overview of each group defining features and its phylogenetic relationships.  (Students are expected to have a working knowledge of vertebrate skeletal anatomy for an understanding of these features.) 

Each week one student will follow Dr. Sumida and provide an overview of:  the taxa included in that group, major subgroups if applicable, the biogeographic distribution of these taxa, and a temporal summary of them as well.  A standard geological time-scale for the time periods necessary to describing the temporal distribution of the taxa may be found at:

      There will be no presenting student for week one; Dr. Sumida will provide the overview so that no time is lost and so that students with less paleontological background can be provided with a clear example of how to organize their presentations.


Final Class Project – Details

The final class project will be a paper in the form of an introduction to a research paper submission for one of the major groups covered in weeks 1-10.  The paper should include an overview of the group, itŐs taxa, biogeographic and temporal distribution.  The projects will be written in the form of one of the following Journals:

á      Journal of Paleontology

á      Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology

á      Palaeontology (Britain)

All literature cited must be included with journal citations in the format required of the respective journal.  If a figure is included, the figure legend must be formatted according to the requirements of the respective journal.



Grading Criteria:

The course is not graded on a curve.  Letter grades are not assigned for individual components; rather they are based on the cumulative points.  Grades will be set according to the criteria listed below. There is no extra credit work available.




Percentage of Total Points














Below 60















University Policies

Students are referred to the ŇGeneral Regulations and Procedures" in the CSUSB Bulletin of Courses for the universityŐs policies on course withdrawal, cheating, and plagiarism.  Below are examples only.


Plagiarism and Cheating

Sample text: Students are expected to be familiar with the UniversityŐs Policy on cheating and Plagiarism. Please review this at (CSUSB Bulletin, pages 51-52). Instances of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. Plagiarism (presenting the work of another as your own, or the use of another personŐs ideas without giving proper credit) will result in a failing grade and sanctions by the University. For this class, all assignments are to be completed by the individual student unless otherwise specified.


Dropping and Adding


All students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drops, academic renewal, etc. found in the CSUSB Bulletin, pages 46-48).


Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

Note: it is the student's responsibility to seek academic accommodations for a verified disability in a timely manner.


Support for Students with Disabilities

If you are in need of an accommodation for a disability in order to participate in this class, please see the instructor and contact Services to Students with Disabilities at (909) 537-5238.

If you require assistance in the event of an emergency, you are advised to establish a buddy system with a buddy and an alternate buddy in the class. Individuals with disabilities should prepare for an emergency ahead of time by instructing a classmate and the instructor.


Course Schedule and Reading Assignments

Refer to the schedule below for topics, activities, and reading assignments. (Note: subject to change with fair notice.)


The major groups are taken from the phylogeny below.  This phylogeny is the current best available hypothesis of relationships of basal amniotes and their closest sister-taxa.





Topic/Activity - Group(s) Covered, Presenting Class Member,

Initial Reading Assignments







Class Logistics; Introduction; Course Scope.  Diadectomorpha

Berman et al. (1992); Sumida et al. (1992)



Synapsida - Caseosauria

Maddin et al. (2008); Reisz et al. (2009)



Synapsida - Eupelycosauria

Reisz et al. (1992); Berman et al. (1995); Reisz (1986) (reference only)



Reptilia, Family Captorhinidae

Dodick and Modesto (1995); Sumida et al. (2010)



Protorthyrididiae + Araeoscelidia

Reisz (1981); Reisz et al. (1984); MŸller (2006) ;MŸller and Reisz (2006)



Dr. Sumida away from campus.

No class meeting



Mesosauridae + Millerettidae + Lanthanosuchidae

Modesto (2006); Modesto (2010); deBraga and Reisz (1996); Cisneros et al. (2008)



Bolosauridae + Nyctiphruretus

Berman et al. (2000); Reisz et al. (2007); MŸller et al. (2007); Falconnet (2012)




Diaz da Silva et al. (2006); Cisneros (2008); Cisneros and Ruta (2010)




Tsuji (2006); Tsuji et al. (2012)







Course Reading Assignments


Berman, D. S, S. S. Sumida, and R. E. Lombard.  1992.  Reinterpretation of the temporal and occipital regions in Diadectes and the relationships of diadectomorphs.  Journal of Paleontology, 66:481-499.


Berman, D. S, R. R. Reisz, J. R. Bolt, and D. Scott.  1995.  The cranial anatomy and relationships of the synapsid Varanosaurus (Eupelycosauria: Ophiacodontidae) from the Early Permian of Texas and Oklahoma.  Annals of Carnegie Museum, 64:99-133.


Berman, D. S, R. R Reisz, D. Scott, A. C. Henrici, S. S. Sumida, and T. Martens.  2000.  Early Permian bipedal reptile.  Science, 290:969-972.


Cisneros, J. C.  2008.  Phylogenetic relationships of procolophonid parareptiles with remarks on their geological record.  Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 6:345-366.


Cisneros, J. C. and M. Ruta, 2010.  Morphological diversity and biogeography of procolophonids (Amniota: Parareptilia).  Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 8:607-625


Cisneros, J.C., B. S. Rubidge, R. Mason, and C. Dube.  2008. Analysis of millerettid parareptile relationships in the light of new material of Broomia perplexa Watson, 1914, from the Permian of South Africa.  Journal of Systematic Palaeontology, 6:453–462.


deBraga, M. and R. R. Reisz. 1996: The Early Permian reptile Acleistorhinus pteroticus and its phylogenetic position. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 16:384-395.


Dias-da-Silva, S., S. P.  Modesto, and C. L. Schultz.  2006. New material of Procolophon (Parareptilia: Procolophonoidea) from the Lower Triassic of Brazil, with remarks on the ages of the Sanga do Cabral and Buena Vista formations of South America.  Canadian Journal of Earth Science, 43:1685-1693.


Falconnet, J.  2012.  First evidence of a bolosaurid parareptile in France (latest Carboniferous-earliest Permian of the Autun basin) and the spatiotemporal distribution of the Bolosauridae.  Bulletin SocietŽ GŽological France, 183:495-608.


Maddin, H. C., C. A. Sicdor, and R. R. Reisz.  2008.  Cranial anatomy of Ennatosaurus tecton (Syynapsida: Caseidae) from the Middle Permian of Russia and the evolutionary relationships of Caseidae.  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 28:160-180.


Modesto, S. P. 2006.  The cranial skeleton of the Early Permian aquatic reptile Mesosaurus tenuidens: implications for relationships and palaeobiology.  Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 146:345–368.


Modesto, S. P. 2010.  The postcranial skeleton of the aquatic parareptile Mesosaurus tenuidens from the Gondwanan Permian.  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 30:1378-1390.


Modesto, S. P., D. M. Scott, D. S Berman, J. MŸller, and R. R. Reisz.  2007.The skull and the palaeoecological significance of Labidosaurus hamatus, a captorhinid reptile from the Lower Permian of Texas.  Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 149:237–262.


MŸller, J., Li, J.-L.,and R. R. Reisz.  2007.A new bolosaurid parareptile, Belebey chengi sp. nov., from the Middle Permian of China and its paleogeographic significance.  Naturwissenschaften, 95:11691174.


MŸller, J., and R. R. Reisz.  2006.  The phylogeny of early eureptiles: comparing parsimony and Baysian appreoaches in the investigation of a basal fossil clade.  Systematic Biology, 55:503-511.


Reisz, R. R. 1980.  A diapsid reptile from the Pennsylvanian of Kansas. Univeristy of Kansas Museum of natural history Special Publication No. 7. 74pp.


Reisz, R. R. , D. S Berman, and D. Scott.  1984.  The anatomy and relationships of the Lower Permian reptile Araeoscelis. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 4:57-67.


Reisz, R. R. , D. S Berman, and D. Scott.  1992.  The cranial anatomy and relationships of Secodontosaurus, an unusual mammal-like reptile (Synapsida: Sphenacodontidae) from the early Permian of Texas.  Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 104:127–184


Reisz, R. R., J. MŸller, L. Tsuji, and D. Scott.  2007. The cranial osteology of Belebey vegrandis (Parareptilia: Bolosauridae), from the Middle Permian of Russia, and its bearing on reptilian evolution.  Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 151:191–214.


Reisz, R. R., S. J. Godfrey, and D. Scott.  2009.  Eothyris and Oedaleops: Do These Early Permian Synapsids from Texas and New Mexico form a Clade?  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 29:39-47.


Sumida, S. S., R. E. Lombard, and D. S Berman.  1992.  Morphology of the atlas-axis complex of the Late Palaeozoic tetrapod Suborders Diadectomorpha and Seymouriamorpha. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 336:259-273


Sumida, S. S., J. Dodick, A. Metcalf, and G. Albright.  2010.  Reiszorhinus olsoni, a new single-tooth-rowed captorhinid reptile from the Lower Permian of Texas. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 30:704-714.


Tsuji, L. 2006.  Cranial anatomy and phylogenetic affinities of the Permian parareptile Macroleter poezicus. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 26:849-865.


Tsuji, L., J. MŸller, and R. Reisz.  2012. Anatomy of Emeroleter levis and the phylogeny of the Nycteroleter parareptiles.  Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 32:45-67.



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