Course Content and Outcome Guide for BMZA 106

Course Number:
BMZA 106
Course Title:
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Physiology II
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Presents a comparative approach to structure, function, and evolution of vertebrate organ systems with emphasis on special senses, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive, and endocrine systems. Includes laboratory dissections of representative vertebrate specimens. Department permission required. Prerequisites: BMZA 105. 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 special senses, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive, and endocrine systems, 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.
  • Complete 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 sensory system including general sensation, proprioreception and special senses. Relate these structures to the way the animals perceive their environment.
  • Relate the structure and function of the diverse organs, cells and tissues that provide endocrine control and how these normally maintain homeostasis within the animal. Compare and contrast the control of the nervous and endocrine systems, neurotransmitters to hormones and how these control systems relate to animal behavior.
  • Analyze the cardiovascular components including blood, vessels and the heart, describing their location, structure and means of exchange at the
    capillaries and means of transporting material throughout the body.
  • Define the various cells, tissues organs and secretions that provide both nonspecific resistance to disease and immunity and how this protection is achieved.
  • Actively examine the structures of the respiratory system beginning with cellular components and including various air passages and sites of gas
  • Beginning at the oral cavity study the structures involved in the acquisition, physical and chemical breakdown of food, absorption of nutrients and elimination of wastes and excess material. Relate these to the nature of nutrition for the various groups of animals.
  • Describe the urinary organs including the kidneys, urinary bladder, ureters, urethra as well as cloaca and integumentary contributions.
  • Examine the critical importance of fluid, electrolyte and acid-base balance to maintaining homeostasis within the animals.
  • Compare reproductive organs, glands and accessory structures in a variety of vertebrates and describe how these contribute to the success of the animals in providing future generations.
  • Study the common early developmental patterns in vertebrates and then examine the significant differences between groups.


  • 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