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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Paleontology: Ancient Marine Reptiles by University of Alberta

1,166 ratings

About the Course

Paleontology: Ancient Marine Reptiles is a four-lesson course teaching a comprehensive overview of the evolutionary changes that occur when air-breathing terrestrial animals return to water. This course examines the diversity, adaptations, convergence, and phylogenetic relationships of extinct marine reptiles. Students will explore three major groups of marine reptiles: ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, and mosasaurs. Watch a preview of the course here:

Top reviews


Apr 1, 2016

An excellent introduction to the sometimes overlooked marine predators that lived alongside the dinosaurs! A lot of detail is presented here, so be prepared to act like a sponge and soak it all up.


Oct 4, 2022

Learned quite alot about Ichthyosaur and Mosasaur , piqued my interest in going for some advanced course in paleontology , Thank you for such a great course , Hats of the the team behind this .

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26 - 50 of 331 Reviews for Paleontology: Ancient Marine Reptiles

By Chris V

Jul 18, 2017

Another awesome MOOC by University of Alberta. The provided material is on point and easy to follow and understand and the videos presented by Scott are brilliant as well. Definitely recommend this course to anyone even slightly interested in palaeontology and it really makes me regret my choice of studies. :D

By Ariel A

Dec 19, 2019

I love the notes. I'm the reader type of learner so I appreciate reading more than watching. The material is easy to understand and discusses important aspects of evolution particularly comparative anatomy and paleobiology of the modern organisms and fossil/dinosaurs. Worth the money and time spent

By Jingtian Z

Dec 26, 2020

I have learned two MOOCs produced by the University of Alberta. One of it was Paleontology: Early Vertebrate Evolution. I have explored some course materials this course uses, like the Phylogenitic tree this course uses. I also saw the instructor, Scotty Persons again in this course, too.

By David B

Apr 23, 2020

I really enjoyed the course & finding out about the creatures that have fascinated me for years. The course was very well structured in logical sections that enabled me to study when I wanted.


Aug 4, 2020

Once again, another fantastic course, giving an overview of the Marine Reptiles. However, this ciourse is a little heavier on the unfamiliar names, unavoidably, so is less suitable for younger or less committed students. I took this course after Dino101 and the other, shorter courses, and I feel that this would be appropriate for most people without a prior grounding in palaeontology. That said, I found this course wonderfully interesting, so much so that I completed it in a week, and I would, personally, not have missed it for the world!. I would have liked a longer course, with even more details, and more rigorous testing, but appreciate that I am possibly Not the typical student!! While the Marine Reptiles are NOT dinosaurs, no investigation into the Reign of the Dinosaurs can be complete without it, and they are a fascinating group of creatures in themselves.

By Gwendolyn G

May 21, 2021

I took this course right after I took and received my certification for the Dino 101 course. It took me a bit to become comfortable with myself in this one because the reading material was more dense and I had a shorter time to complete this one than the previous. However, whether it is my love of this subject or that I will not fail no matter what, I finished in a timely manner.

W. Scott Persons is a magnificent presenter. He is a natural story teller and I loved his videos. He took you in and there was no way you could not pay attention and learn from him.

To say the least, I am so happy that I have found Coursera and that I have found these courses. University of Alberta, you have done a phenomenal job in putting these courses together and I hope to see even more from you. Thank you so much, Gwen

By Chaerunnisa M

May 27, 2021

Finally wrapped up this course :) I'm happy to know the fact that in the past dinosaurs not the only one who conquered the world but also reptiles especially marine reptiles. This course open my eyes and makes me more believe about the ancient animals also the ancestors of this day animals. The presenter, Scott Persons, he explain the material very well and passionate. He is such a dedicated person in paleontology. Also to mention thank you for University Alberta to creates this amazing course with amazing people, materials, and videos on it. A very well done!

By Mickaela R M

Feb 7, 2023

I absolutely loved this course. My only criticism would be to slow down the pace of the lessons *just* a little bit for those enjoying this course who are a little less experienced (such as myself).

I vicariously thrived in this environment of expressed enthusiasm. Those who compiled this course clearly know their material and have a passion for evolution.

I am quite thankful for Coursera offering this course to those who otherwise wouldn't have as many opportunities to investigate this subject.

By Debra J N

Oct 9, 2020

I found this course very detailed. It explained, for me, the differences between and within the

families of Ichthyosaurs, Plesiosaurs, and Mosasaurs. I think I can better distinguish each of them

now through their general morphology.

Learning how they returned to the sea and the conditions needed to exist fully in water was an eye-opener. So many adaptations were involved that I never thought about.

The presenter made the course interesting and the class notes followed along with him.

By Neha

Jun 29, 2020

this course was very valuable to me . i did this course as it is my passion. even without knowing any basis related to this subject i was able to learn and understand well. the instructor has explained everything very clearly in simple words and with great compassion that made me so interested to continue learning further. i was capable of discovering a new world of marine reptiles through this course .thank you for giving my such an amazing experience of learning.

By Hemprabha M M

Sep 28, 2020

I am glad that this course helps me to get some knowledge about marine species that ruled all over the Mesozoic sea . Also the instructor and notes given during the lesson is helpful and awesome and helps me to understand this course well enough to chose a career of evolving our surrounding ,fossils and all the hidden things in our mother earth. Thanks to the Alberta for offering this amazing course and also for providing such an exciting course to be get known.

By Viv B

Sep 17, 2020

Brilliant Course. Incredible creatures. A lot of very technical names to try and remember and the quizes at the end of each module are challenging. Luckily you get more than one attempt ! So grateful to the University of Alberta for making this course available. Enjoyed Dino 101 too. Will begin the Theropods to birds course after my holiday. ! Check out the Extinctionss Then and Now course on the Futurelearn webssite too as that course led me to these two

By Thian Q Z

Nov 6, 2020

As an engineering student, I find this course exceptionally interesting! It helps me to realise that Nature truly is the master of engineering. This really fascinates me because there are so much to learn from these beautiful marine reptiles as they evolved different adaptations to solve the aquatic problem, just like what engineers do today in their jobs. Thank you Coursera and University of Alberta! Hope that there are more to come in the future.


Jul 15, 2020

First of all, thanks to Scott, Angela and Gavin for your efforts on this one. A very well-constructed course and a fun and stimulating learning experience. Comprehensive, but not overwhelming, reading material and really good videos packed with excellent visuals of fossils and the creatures under study. This was my second "Paleo" course through University of Alberta and it won't be my last. Highly recommended.

By Vladislav Z

Jul 1, 2021

This course was very thorough, well structured and I enjoyed learning from it. The material was presented in an engaging manner, and provided in both written and video formats. For similar MOOCs, I recommend Early Vertebrate Evolution, Dino 101 - Dinosaur Paleobiology and Theropod Dinosaurs and the Origins of Birds, all of which are presented by the University of Alberta and that I had the pleasure of taking.

By Vidya S

Sep 19, 2020

Excellent course, as a biology student I learned a lot of new information that is not provided at my university, and at the same time it is comprehensible for every person, very well illustrated and explained!

The notes are detailed, yet easy to understand.

The diagrams assist in understanding, with information depicting the structures being discussed.

By Marcos G M

Jun 28, 2020

Está genial este curso, sí que es verdad que algunas palabras son muy técnicas y yo algunas no las supe, pero en general se entiende y la traducción está perfecto. Me encanta este curso, está muy bien elaborado y para todo aquél "friki" de los dinosaurios, este curso es idóneo para aprender a conocerlos y estudiarlos. Muchas gracias. Un saludo.

By Ross W

Nov 12, 2020

Excellent and very interesting course! The instructor is very good and passionate, highly recommend if you have any interest in Palaeontology. The first week requires a bit of background knowledge, but thankfully the same university offers a Dino 101 course, which the first week of that gave me enough knowledge to continue with this course.

By Afreen P S

Sep 20, 2020

It was a really good course which provided me with new knowledge about marine life and i'm sure it helped me to understand more on the topic of my interest that is marine biology and provided interesting and knowledgeable points on marine reptiles and other factswhich animals share when living in a marine ecosystem.

By rodrigo a d m

Jul 5, 2020

Asombro del como te ingresan al mundo mesozoico marino y del desarrollo, para amateurs y para conocedores. Recomendable a versados e interesados al tema. Merece difusión para aquellos que ignoran la impartición del curso, incluso hacia para las personas que no despertaron al mundo paleontológico aún.

By Al B

Sep 1, 2022

Very good course: instructor paces it well and explains important points clearly. A bit more technical (especially with names of basil marine reptiles) than I neeeded but the quizzes are reasonable in this regard. Overall, an excellent treatment of the three apex marine reptiles in the Mesozoic.

By Laura D

Jul 23, 2022

It has been so instructive during this courses. I've heard from species I've never did before, and the professor is really clear. The little questionnaries along the courses are really advantageous to make sure we understand everything and not confuse things, names and so on.

Go on the good work !

By Gabriel R

Jul 15, 2020

Excellent course of your interested in learning more about the ways animals adapt and the way these marine reptiles used to rule the oceans in the time of the dinosaurs. I throughly enjoyed the detailed format and instruction given and learned a lot on the topic in the process. Highly recommend!

By Andrea M C P

Oct 31, 2020

la verdad muy bueno el curso, siento que deberían de darte un poquitito mas de tiempo para estudiar ciertas familias ,en lo personal , algunas se me complicaron , fuera de eso muy bueno , buena información, videos, e incluso los cuestionarios fueron un reto pero al final todo valle la pena

By S. A V

Jul 5, 2020

What an amazing course this was! If you are interested in prehistoric marine reptiles or just Palaeontology in general, this is the course for you. The instructor's passion for the subject is contagious. Loved the maps, diagrams, interactive resources and questions asked in each video.