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Origins – Formation of the Universe, Solar System, Earth and Life (Coursera)

The Origins course tracks the origin of all things – from the Big Bang to the origin of the Solar System and the Earth. The course follows the evolution of life on our planet through deep geological time to present life forms.


Week 1: Origin of the Elements, the Solar System and the Planets

Week 2: The early Earth and origin of life

Week 3: Origin of the microbial world / The Cambrian Explosion and Exceptional Preservation

Week 4: Transition from Microbial to Macrobial Life: Snowball Earth and the Ediacara Biota / Eukaryotic Evolution and the Phylogeny of All Life

Week 5: Origin of the marine Cambrian and Palaeozoic Evolutionary Faunas / Diversity in deep time / Origin of predation and the Mesozoic Arms race

Week 6: Oxygenation and Animals

Week 7: Origins and Early Development of Plants / The Origin and Diversification of Flowering Plants

Week 8: The Evolution of Insects and their Role in Terrestrial Ecosystems

Week 9: Colonization of the continents and the Origin of the Dinosaurs and Birds/Mass Extinction Events and Their Causes

Week 10: Origin of Recent Climate Change / The Molecular Clock

Week 11:Primate Origins and Evolution / Human Origins and Evolution

Week 12: Modern Diversit