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ModuleA - zoology lab modules

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4 Module A Learning About Anatomy A Learning About Anatomy 1. WHY STUDY ANATOMY? Consider the following scenario: arriving home from university one afternoon, you find your dog chasing your cat around your house. Suddenly your cat leaps from the floor onto the top of a tall bookshelf, and the chase is over – your dog is unable to follow. Why? Answering a question like this requires knowledge derived from many sources. The ef- fects of gravity, the physics of force exerted by muscles, and the anatomical arrangement of bones, muscles, and connective tissues all have an influence on how animals behave in their environments. At the foundation of all of these fields is a thorough understanding of anatomy. The study of the morphology, function, and evolution of animals is a dynamic and rapidly expanding discipline in biology. Many interdependent body systems allow animals to survive and thrive in their environments, and understanding how such systems function requires a thorough knowledge of the structures of which they are composed. Grasping the relationship between form and function allows inferences about evolutionary history to be drawn. Anatomical study (the oldest branch of the biological sciences) at first appears to be little more than the assignment of names to structures. Instead, however, we invite you to con- sider it as a foundational part of a greater understanding of how animals work. We intend this course to be a gateway to the world of evolutionary and functional morphology, and an early step in learning to think about animals and their environments as being interactive and inseparable, rather than looking at features and organisms in isolation. You will notice that this workbook is divided into modules. This assists us in presenting material to you in a logical way, and allows you to structure your learning. Remember at all times, however, that the systems upon which the modules are based do not, and can- not, function in isolation. Indeed, they mean little if not considered in the context of the entire functioning organism. In order to understand what this course is really about, you
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Module A Learning About Anatomy 5 2. WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF AN ANATOMY WORKBOOK? Traditional comparative anatomy courses are most often taught with the aid of a dissec- tion guide, and are based largely upon the comparison of two or more body plans through extensive dissection and often, unfortunately, involve prodigious amounts of memoriza- tion. We feel that a better approach to the subject is to provide you, the student, with op- portunities to engage the material in a more inquiry-based way. Our objective is that you leave the course with a long-term understanding of anatomy that will allow you to use this information in other courses as you proceed through your education. Massive lists of memorized terminology will soon depart from your brain. If this is all you take away from an antomy course, you will have achieved little of value. Thus, we have eliminated
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