Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology: Biol 4360k


Instructor: Dr. Andrew Meyer:   218 A Sequoya Hall

Phone: 272-2581 (272-4440- secretary)      email:

Office hours will be posted on my door.


Student learning outcomes for Biol 4360k: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology


Upon completion of this course, the student should:

1.               To be able to identify and understand the function of the structures that make up the vertebrate body.

2.               To be able to describe the relationship between a vertebrate's anatomy and its behavior, activity level, range of movement, and habitat (to name a few).

3.               Demonstrate understanding of how the diversification of vertebrates and their functional abilities results from evolutionary modifications to the common body plan all vertebrates share.


Hi, Welcome to Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology!


This overall goal of this course is to become familiar with the basic body plan of the group of animals known as the vertebrates.  As we look at the variety of structures that are common to all vertebrates, we will also examine how different body parts can be specialized for different animal lifestyles.  We will be using our brains in a number of ways: we will have a variety of lab dissections to see structures, we will think about the lifestyle of the animals and how the adaptations help their survival, and we will compare the structures to see how evolution has shaped their development. 


Now, in order to do well in the course you will need to use common sense and not be afraid of stating the obvious.  For example, a big obvious thing for flying creatures is that they need to be light. This simple observation dictates a lot about the design of the animal: it affects the skeletal structure and bone itself; it affects how these animals get rid of waste products; muscular and integumentary systems are also modified for lightness and efficiency. Simple observations can lead to a lot of adaptations- be ready to see the obvious and think about how that affects design.



Some other things to keep in mind: Make connections:  As we keep adding systems to the organisms we observe, remember that the systems fit together to create the life style for that animal.  Comparing organisms to each other is another good way to see the significance of an adaptation.  Remember our goal is to have bodily systems FIT TOGETHER in an organism to allow it to fit into its niche in the environment. 


Ask for help!!  As I said earlier, common sense and problem solving on your part are important tools as we work through the various organisms.  Work in groups, study in groups, and help each other see the connections as we go.  Remember to ASK for help.  I am here and ready to assist you! 



Course Policies


Attendance: You are expected to attend all class and lab periods. If you miss a class or a lab, YOU are the one responsible for finding out about missed assignments, announcements, and any material covered in your absence. If you must miss a lecture exam or quiz, please notify me the day of the exam. Under extreme circumstances, an essay/short answer  make up exam may be given.  There will be NO make up exams for missed lab quizzes. Late assignments may not be accepted.  Please do not bring children/guests to lab or class.


Vista access:  Vista is a supplement to the course and is NOT meant to be a substitute for class and lab attendance and participation.  If I feel that you are not actively participating and attending class and labs on a regular basis your Vista access may be restricted. 


Academic Integrity: You will be expected to uphold the highest standards of academic integrity. Cheating of any sort will result in an “F” for the course. This includes giving information as well as receiving information. This applies to work done outside of class as well as work done in class. Plagiarism is a bad thing.  Don’t do that either. Ask for help if you are not sure what plagiarsim is.


Cell Phones: Please turn off your cell phone during BOTH CLASS and LAB periods.  This includes TEXT MESSAGING and GAMES.   If you feel the need to play games/text message with your phone during class periods please get up and excuse yourself.  If you have an emergency situation brewing, just let me know beforehand your cell phone may ring during class.




Grading: Your grade will be based upon the following: there are 900 points total possible.   I will have your current average available in Vista so you can see where you stand.


5 lecture exams: 100 points each                                                                           90-100%=A

1 comprehensive final: 200 points                                                                          80-89%=B

Lab grade (Lab notebook, quizzes, dissections): 200 points                       70-79%=C


                                                                                                                                    Below 60=F



Disability Support Services Statement

Students with disabilities or special needs are encouraged to contact Disability Support Services in Academic Resources.  In order to make an appointment to obtain information on the process for qualifying for accommodations, the student must contact the Disability Support Specialist. 

Contact information:            

Andrea Roberson

Pope Student Center, lower level



Workforce Development Statement

“If a student receiving aid administered by the DSC Workforce Development Department drops this class or completely withdraws from the College, the Add-Drop/Withdrawal form must be taken to the Workforce Development Office first.  The office is located in the Technical Education Building, Room 140 and their hours are 9:00a.m. - 12:15p.m. and 1:30p.m. - 3:00p.m., Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and 8:30a.m. - 12:00noon on Friday. Their phone number is 272-2635.”

Drop/Withdrawal Statement

“The last day to drop this class without penalty is October 27, 2008.  You will be assigned a grade of W.  After this date, withdrawal without penalty is permitted only in cases of extreme hardship as determined by the Vice President for Academic Affairs; otherwise a grade of WF will be issued. Students who wish to drop this class or withdraw from all classes should go to the Enrollment Services Office in Westcott Hall to complete the necessary form.  Students who fail to complete the official drop/withdrawal procedure will receive the grade of F.    Withdrawal from class is a student responsibility.  Before dropping any class, the college strongly advises that students meet with their academic advisor and their instructor to discuss the impact of a withdrawal on their graduation plans.  The college also strongly advises students who are receiving any type of financial aid to visit the Financial Aid Office in Pope Student Center to discuss the impact a withdrawal may have on their financial aid status.  The grade of W counts as hours attempted for the purposes of financial aid.”













I have read, understand, and agree to the included policies



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