Course Content and Outcome Guide for BMZA 105

Course Number:
BMZA 105
Course Title:
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology I
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Presents a comparative approach to structure, function, and evolution of the vertebrate classes. Examines histology and organ systems with emphasis on integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems. Includes laboratory dissections of representative vertebrate specimens. Department permission required. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion, students should be able to:

  • Effectively communicate within a team of zoo professionals regarding the anatomical and physiological conditions of vertebrates being managed.
  • Critically evaluate published research related to histology, integument, skeletal, muscular and nervous systems of vertebrates, in order to inform
    and continuously improve best practices in animal management.
  • Skillfully monitor animal health and well-being using an understanding of their anatomy and physiology.
  • Respond knowledgeably and educate the public when questioned regarding animal anatomy, physiology, and well-being.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

  • Participate in and contribute to all class and team discussions and activities.
  • Complete homework assignments and projects.
  • Write all scheduled lecture and laboratory practical examinations, weekly quizzes and case studies.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • A comparative study of the interrelatedness of structure and function of exotic vertebrate animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
  • Homeostasis
  • Scientific method


  • Correctly apply appropriate terminology to anatomical structures and physiological processes.
  • Integrate the study of tissues and cells to the structure and functions of the organs and systems they comprise.
  • Explain the structure and function of the integumentary system including glands, scales. feathers, fur, claws, nails, hooves, antlers and horns.
  • Relate the structure and function of the skeletal systems and articulations comparing these components to support and locomotion roles as sites of muscle attachment.
  • Analyze the muscular components, describing their location, structure and means of contraction and relaxation producing movement.
  • Actively examine the structures of the nervous system beginning with cellular components, nerves, spinal cords and brains plus their means of
    excitation and conducting impulses. Relate these structures to control systems and their roles in animal behavior.


  • Conflicting and limitations of data
  • Use of animal testing
  • Differences between science and pseudo-science
  • Attitudes and practices are evolving


  • Microscope skills
  • Dissecting skills
  • Visualization skills
  • Descriptive skills
  • Interpretation of data
  • Proper usage and pronunciation of terms
  • Locating and accessing information
  • Environmental awareness and proper disposal of hazardous material
  • Study skills