Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy BSC 310
Department of Biological Sciences
Professor: F. Robin O’Keefe
Office Phone: 676-2427
Office Hours: Friday 9:00-11:30, 1:30-3:30, or by appointment.
Tuesday and Thursday, 1-2:15, S374
Tuesday and Thursday, 10-11:50. BSC 130
--Kardong, K. V. Vertebrates: Comparative Anatomy, Function, Evolution. Fifth edition.
--de Iuliis, G., and Pulera, D. The Dissection of Vertebrates
--Pough et al.; Vertebrate Life
--Informal additional readings will be offered to interested students
Course Overview & Objectives:
This course is designed to give an overview of the
anatomy and evolutionary history of the Vertebrata, the animals having backbones. The
course consists of both lecture and laboratory sessions, and the laboratory sessions are
critical to successful completion of the course. One cannot learn anatomy without
experiencing it, and we will discover out subject through the dissection of real vertebrate
specimens: primarily the shark, cat, and salamander, but also prepared slides of basal
chordates and chick embryology. Lastly, we will utilize an extensive osteological
collection in our study of comparative cranial anatomy.
The great diversity of vertebrate life—both in number of species and in
morphological variation—poses a challenge to both the teacher and student of
comparative vertebrate anatomy. We will navigate this diversity using three overarching
Ideally, at the conclusion of this course you will have concrete knowledge of the
fundamental structural principles of the vertebrate body; be able to describe and
generalize the various body systems common to all vertebrates, their structure, function,
continuity, and diversity over evolutionary time; conceptualize the scope of vertebrate
history and integrate the themes that rationalize this history; and hopefully gain an
appreciation and a sense of wonder inspired by the complexity and diversity of vertebrate
--Attendance at all lectures is expected.
--Grades are based primarily on performance of midterm and final exams in both lecture
and laboratory settings; see Exams, below.
--Approximately 30% of the course grade (200 of 700 points) will derive from your lab