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The comparative anatomy, general biology, ecology, physiology and evolutionary history of the vertebrates.
The course aims to introduce students to the phylum Chordata – animals with backbones. It will provide information on the phylogenetic relationships of the different groups that comprise the phylum, and in particular demonstrate how evolutionary processes have shaped this major group of animals.Lectures include:• Origins of the phylum Chordata• Life in the sea – origins and radiations of the fishes• Movement onto land – the emergence of the tetrapods• Locomotion – swimming, walking, flying• Dinosaurs and other reptiles• Birds and mammals – successful homeotherms• Extinction and future of the vertebrates
As a Student in this Course, I will:Have knowledge about the different classes within the phylum and their phylogenetic relationships (assessment tasks: lab reports, lab exam and final exam; Critically competent)Have knowledge of the chronology of the emergence of different groups of vertebrates, and key events in their evolution (assessment tasks: lab reports, lab exam and final exam; Critically competent; Globally aware)Understand the role of extinction events in shaping the diversity of vertebrates (assessment tasks: final exam; Critically competent; Globally aware)Have detailed knowledge of the anatomy of vertebrates, and how form relates to function in an evolutionary context (assessment tasks: lab reports, lab exam and final exam; Critically competent)Have detailed knowledge of the identifying features of vertebrates (assessment tasks: lab reports, lab exam and final exam; Critically competent)Have detailed knowledge on the diversity of vertebrates in New Zealand, their evolutionary history and how they have been affected by human settlement (assessment tasks: lab reports, lab exam, final exam; Critically competent; Biculturally competent and confident; Globally aware)Be able to use the library to find research material and to use that information to write essays (assessment tasks: essay; Critically competent; employable, innovative and enterprising)Transferable SkillsAs a Student in this Course, you will develop the following skills:An ability to dissect a range of vertebrate animals, and thus have the technical knowledge and skills to examine the internal anatomy of any animal (Critically competent; Employable, innovative and enterprising)Synthesising information from primary literature (Critically competent; Employable, innovative and enterprising)Writing a report on findings. Communication of science is fundamental to its use and advancement (Critically competent; Employable, innovative and enterprising)An understanding of the diversity of the New Zealand vertebrate fauna and how it arose (Critically competent; Biculturally competent and confident)
Students must attend one activity from each section.
Labs:There will be two lab streams: one on Wednesday (11 am – 2 pm) and one on Friday (12 noon -3 pm). Check the Course Information System to confirm the details of times. All labs will be held in the West Building (room 505).The labs run for the six weeks of term 3 only. There are two themes to the labs:Dissection: In 2020 we will dissect a teleost fish, a toad and a pigeon. You will need dissecting gear. Lab coats are recommended. Phylogeny. This will be covered using a series of 3 demonstration labs (amphibians and reptiles, birds, and mammals).It is compulsory to wear a lab coat and safety glasses in the laboratory.To purchase approved safety glasses, lab or coats go to https://www.canterbury.ac.nz/science/shop/.The collection point for purchases is inside the southern entry to the Ernest Rutherford Building, Monday to Friday between the hours 8.30 – 10.00 am and 1.30 – 3.00 pm for the first two weeks of the semester.Feedback from 2019 Course Survey (scores out of 5)The following scores were obtained in feedback by students at the end of the course in 2019. Q1 - The materials provided helped me to understand what was required to succeed in this course: 4.4Q2 - The organisation of this course helped me learn: 4.53Q3 - I found the workload was appropriate to the level of the course: 4.57Q4 - I found the assessments appropriate for the course: 4.43Q5 - Where I sought feedback on my assessments, I found it helpful: 4.37
Pough, F. Harvey. , Janis, Christine M., Heiser, John B;
Pearson, 2013 (9th or 10th Edition).
Library portalCourse Outline
Domestic fee $910.00
International fee $4,438.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
School of Biological Sciences