|Module Title||INTRODUCTION TO VERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY|
|Co-ordinator||Dr Rodney J Turner|
|Other staff||Dr Robert J Wootton|
|Pre-Requisite||Normally A or AS Biology or its equivalent.|
|Course delivery||Lecture||20 Hours|
|Practical||12 Hours (4 x 3 hours)|
Tetrapod origins from the lobe-finned fish (Sarcopterygians) and the evolution of the first land vertebrates are discussed. The general structure and physiology of modern amphibians (urodeles, anurans) are considered with reference to locomotion, respiration, osmoregulation and reproduction. Urodele and anuran metamorphosis is discussed together with variation in life histories, biochemical changes (excretion, haemoglobin) and hormonal control (role of thyroid, pituitary and hypothalamus).
Regarding reptiles, the following are discussed: General characteristics of reptiles, emphasising the structural, physiological and reproductive adaptations which equip them for a fully terrestrial existence. Survey of modern reptiles, illustrating major sub-divisions of the class in terms of living representatives (lizards and snakes, turtles, crocodilians). Brief evolutionary history of the group, summarising ideas on the origins and fate of some of the more important lineages.
Archaeopteryx and its significance for bird evolution is discussed, as well as feathers, aerodynamics of flight, and the structure and physiology of modern birds with special reference to flight. Also, bird reproduction and the cleidoic egg.
Finally, we consider mammals: their origins and the structural and physiological characteristics of the group, starting with the monotremes (egg-laying mammals) and the marsupials (pouched mammals) and their adaptive radiation and geographical distribution. Then, the placental mammals, their evolution and the mode of life of the major types: insectivores, carnivores, herbivores, aquatic mammals (especially whales) and primates.
Practical classes illustrate and develop the main themes of the lectures, especially through laboratory demonstrations of specimens, related video sequences, and a visit to Borth Animalarium. There are no dissections.
This module is at CQFW Level 4