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BIO 308: Comparative Anatomy

Spring 2018

Course Syllabus

Instructor for Lecture and Lab: Dr. David Dilkes

Office: HS-158

Research Lab: HS-244

Phone: 920-424-3074


Office Hours: 3:00pm-4:00pm on Monday and Wednesday or by appointment.
Course Web Site

Introduction to Course

During the lectures and labs, we will explore the evolutionary history of selected organ systems of vertebrates. As we examine each organ system, we will draw upon information from the anatomy of living species, the steps during the development of organ systems and the fossil record. All of this information will be combined and placed within the context of the best-supported hypothesis of phylogeny. The basics of the currently accepted method, known as cladistics, for producing these phylogenetic hypotheses will be reviewed.

Lecture Hours

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday HS-456 1:50pm-2:50pm

Lab Hours

Tuesday and Thursday HS-261 9:10am-11:10am

Course Objectives

1. To be able to discuss the characteristic features of all vertebrates and know the broad pattern of the evolutionary relationships of vertebrates.

2. To know the relative contributions of modern anatomy, embryonic development and the fossil record to our understanding of the evolutionary history of the major organ systems of vertebrates.

3. To acquire skill and confidence for dissection, and be able to identify the major organs and their details in a vertebrate.

How to get an A

1. Have lined paper or the printout of the Powerpoint lecture slides with you for the lecture. Make notes using whatever symbols or shorthand methods work best for you.

2. Find a quiet place later that same day and rewrite these notes. Write out fully any abbreviations in your notes and explain any symbols. If you remember any additional information from the lecture, then include it. Fix or redraw any illustrations made during the lecture.

3. These clarified and expanded notes become your study notes for each lecture exam. Questions on the lecture exams will be based on information in the lectures so it is important to make your notes complete and accurate. If you’re uncertain about some point in the lecture, ask another student or contact me.

4. Review your notes frequently, not simply the night before the exam! Don’t forget to practice spelling of the many anatomical terms.

Textbooks and Materials for the Course

Recommended Textbook

Liem, K.F., W.E. Bemis, W.F. Walker, Jr., and L. Grande. 2001. Functional Anatomy of the Vertebrates. An Evolutionary Perspective. 3rd edition. Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc.

Required Lab Manuals

1. De Iuliis, Gerardo and Dino Pulerà. 2011. The Dissection of Vertebrates. A Laboratory Manual. 2nd Edition. Elsevier Inc.

2. Course Packet for BIO308/508.

Lab Equipment

Most of each lab period will be spent dissecting representative vertebrates. You will need to bring to each lab period your copy of the lab manual, a dissecting kit and a lab coat (or an old shirt). Your text will be useful, although not required. Vinyl gloves will be supplied. The dissecting kit should contain a scalpel with replacement blades, a pair of small and large scissors, forceps and blunt and sharp probes. No food or drinks are allowed in the lab.

Lecture Schedule for Spring 2018




Lecture Topic

Readings for Further Detail


Monday January 29

Introduction to the Course


Wednesday January 31

What is a Vertebrate?

Chapter 2


Friday February 2

Synopsis of Vertebrate History: Agnathans and early Gnathostomata (Chondrichthyes)

Chapter 3 (pgs. 48-63)


Monday February 5

Synopsis of Vertebrate History: Gnathostomata (Placodermi and Osteichthyes)

Chapter 3 (pgs. 59, 63-78)


Wednesday February 7

Synopsis of Vertebrate History: Tetrapoda (Amphibia & Amniota - Reptilia)

Chapter 3 (pgs. 79-84, 87-99)


Friday February 9

Synopsis of Vertebrate History: Amniota (Synapsida including Mammalia)

Chapter 3 (pgs. 84-87, 99-113


Monday February 12

Embryology: Cleavage, Gastrulation, and Neurulation

Chapter 4 (pgs. 131-142, 146-147)


Wednesday February 14

Embryology: Cleavage, Gastrulation, and Neurulation

Chapter 4 (pgs. 131-142, 146-147)


Friday February 16

The Coelom

Chapter 4 (pgs. 159-164)


Monday February 19

What’s New in Anatomy?


Wednesday February 21

Jeopardy Game Review for lecture exam 1

Essay Outline Due

Friday February 23


Lectures 2-10 & Inside Nature’s Giants: The Great White Shark


Monday February 26

Integument: Skin and Scales

Chapter 6 (pgs. 208-219)


Wednesday February 28

Integument: Feathers, Hair, Horns, and Antlers

Chapter 6 (pgs. 219-225)


Friday March 2

Vertebrate Skull: Chondrocranium and Dermatocranium & Handout on Mineralized Tissues

Chapter 7 (pgs. 233-264)


Monday March 5

Vertebrate Skull: Splanchnocranium and Origin of Mammalian Middle Ear Bones

Chapter 7 (pgs. 236, 238-264)


Wednesday March 7

Axial Skeleton

Chapter 8 (pgs. 269-272, 272-291)


Friday March 9

Appendicular Skeleton: Evolution of the Pectoral Girdle & Handout on Appendicular Skeleton (Pelvic Girdles and Paired Appendages)

Chapter 9


Monday March 12

Muscle Tissues and Axial Muscles & Handout on Appendicular Muscles

Chapter 10 (pgs. 316-318, 321-322, 327-330, 337-342)


Wednesday March 14

Branchiomeric Muscles

Chapter 10 (pgs. 331-337)

Friday March 16


Lectures 12-18 & Inside Nature’s Giants: The Elephant

Submit Essay Draft to Instructor

Monday March 19, Wednesday March 21, and Friday March 23




Monday March 26

Digestive System

Chapter 16 (pgs. 534, 551-553) and Chapter 17


Wednesday March 28

Digestive System

Chapter 16 (pgs. 534, 551-553) and Chapter 17


Friday March 30

Respiratory System: Principles of Diffusion of Gases, Cutaneous Respiration, and Gills

Chapter 18 (pgs. 575-585)


Monday April 2

Respiratory System: Lungs

Chapter 18 (pgs. 585-600)


Wednesday April 4

Circulatory System: Pathways of Blood Flow and the Heart

Chapter 19 (pgs. 608-611, 612-622)


Friday April 6

Circulatory System: Venous System

Chapter 19 (pgs. 623-627)

Monday April 9


Lectures 19-25 & Inside Nature’s Giants: The Crocodile


Wednesday April 11

Nervous System: Nervous Tissue, Spinal Cord, and Spinal Nerves

Chapter 13 (pgs. 438-445, 450-456)


Friday April 13

Nervous System: Brain

Chapter 14 (pgs. 474-490)


Monday April 16

Nervous System: Cranial Nerves

Chapter 13 (pgs. 456-466)


Wednesday April 18

Sensory Organs: Eyes

Chapter 12 (pgs. 424-433)


Friday April 20

Sensory Organs: Ears

Chapter 12 (pgs. 411-422)


Monday April 23

Urogenital System: Urinary System

Chapter 20 (pgs. 633-641)


Wednesday April 25

Urogenital System: Reproductive System

Chapter 21 (pgs. 660-675)


Friday April 27

Jeopardy Game!

Final Essay Due

Monday April 30


Lectures 26-33 & Inside Nature’s Giants: The Giraffe

Wednesday May 2

Essay Presentation

Friday May 4

Essay Presentation

Monday May 7

Essay Presentation

Wednesday May 9

Essay Presentation

Friday May 11

Essay Presentation

Lab Schedule for Spring 2018

Lab #


Lab Topic



Tuesday January 30

Introduction to Lab,

Body Regions, Directional Terms, Planes of Section

The Dissection of Vertebrates – pgs. xvii-xix


Thursday February 1

Exercise in Cladistics

Cladistic Analysis – part of lab manual.

Functional Anatomy of the Vertebrates Reading – pgs. 10-18



Tuesday February 6

Exercise in Cladistics – continuation if necessary.


BIO308/508 lab manual. Read the sections in Chapter 6 of Functional Anatomy of the Vertebrates on the Integument.


Thursday February 8

Skeletal System: Skulls and Vertebrae

Lab Quiz 1: body regions, directional terms, planes of section, and cladistics

Skeleton in Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Tuesday February 13


Skeletal System: Postcranium

Lab Quiz 2: histology and skulls

Skeleton in Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 9 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Thursday February 15

Form and Function of Vertebrates on Land and Water


Tuesday February 20

External Morphology,


Lab Quiz 3: dentition, postcranium, and form and function of vertebrates

External Anatomy in Chapters 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Thursday February 22

Skinning (continued),

Superficial Muscles

Musculature in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Tuesday February 27

Superficial Muscles (continued)

Deep Muscles

Lab Quiz 4: external morphology and superficial muscles

Musculature in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Thursday March 1

Deep Muscles (continued)

Musculature in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Tuesday March 6

Digestive System

Digestive system in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Thursday March 8

Respiratory System

Lab Quiz 5: deep muscles and digestive system

Respiratory system in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Tuesday March 13

Review for Lab Exam 1

Thursday March 15


Histology, Skeletal System, External Morphology, Muscles, Digestive System, and Respiratory System

March 20 & 22




Tuesday March 27

Circulatory System:

Heart and Arterial System

Circulatory system in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Thursday March 29

Circulatory System (continued)

Lab Quiz 6: respiratory system, heart, and arterial system

Circulatory system in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Tuesday April 3

Circulatory System:

Venous System

Circulatory system in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Thursday April 5

Urinary and Reproductive Systems

Urinary and Reproductive Systems in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Tuesday April 10

Urinary and Reproductive Systems (continued)

Urinary and Reproductive Systems in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Thursday April 12

Nervous System

Lab Quiz 7: venous system, urinary system, and reproductive system

Nervous system in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Tuesday April 17

Nervous System (continued)

Sensory System

Nervous and Sensory systems in Chapters 2, 3, 5, and 7 of The Dissection of Vertebrates


Thursday April 19

Lab Quiz 8: nervous and sensory systems

Review for Lab Exam 2

Tuesday April 24


Circulatory System, Urinary and Reproductive Systems, Nervous System, and Sensory System

Grading Scale



Grade Points





































Marking Scheme for 308

Lecture Exam #1 10%

Lecture Exam #2 10%

Lecture Exam #3 10%

Lecture Exam #4 10%

Essay Outline 4%

Essay Presentation 6%

Essay Draft 6%

Essay Final 10%

Lab Exam #1 10%

Lab Exam #2 10%

Quizzes (7 X 2% each) 14%

Total 100%
Lecture Exams (40% of your total course grade)

Lecture Exams 1-4 will consist of a short answer questions and essay questions. Each lecture exam is scheduled during a regular lecture period and will take no more time than allotted normally for a lecture.

Quizzes (14% of your total course grade)

Eight quizzes will be held during the scheduled lab periods. Each quiz will consist of short answer questions and labeling of drawings, and take up no more than 10-15 minutes of a lab. The quizzes will be based upon lab topics. The lowest quiz mark will be dropped.

Lab Exams (20% of your total course grade)

Lab exams 1 and 2 will be a combination of a “bell-ringer” format and short answer questions. Questions for the bell-ringer section will ask you to identify labeled structures on dissected animals, skeletons, and tissue slides within a time limit. The goal of a “bell-ringer” lab exam is to test your ability to identify those structures that you learned in lab and your understanding of their form and function based upon your observations of materials in front of you. Each lab exam is scheduled during a regular lab period.

Important Notes Regarding Lab Exams

  1. The second lab exam will not be comprehensive and will include only material learned since the first lab exam.

  2. BIO211 (Human Anatomy) will use our lab room (HS261) during the week of March 5 – 9 for a lab exam. This room will not be available during this week outside of our scheduled lab periods.

Essay (26% of your total course grade)

You will be required to write a short essay on a topic in comparative anatomy. A separate set of pages has been prepared to discuss the essay. If you do not select one of the topics listed in the set of pages, then I must approve your essay topic. A late penalty of 0.5% per day (including weekends) will be deducted from the value of the draft or final essay.

Bonus Points!!

There are opportunities to add bonus points totaling an additional 3% to your total course grade. First, you may choose to read and comment on the first version of the essay written by another student in the class. There is a form in the lab course packet to be filled out. You can earn 1% for this task. Second, I have scheduled review sessions for the first and last lecture exams. These reviews are set up as a Jeopardy game format where you will part of a team and compete for points. The winning team will receive 1.0% for each game. Other teams will receive 0.5%.

Policy for Make-up Exams and Quizzes:

In order to write a makeup lecture exam, lab exam, or quiz, you must inform Dr. Dilkes of your absence before the start of the lecture exam or your scheduled lab period. Any student who does not do so may forfeit the chance to write a makeup exam or quiz and a grade of zero will be assigned.
It is the student’s responsibility to contact Dr. Dilkes. A message from a family member or friend is not acceptable. Contact may be an email, message on my office answering machine, or a message to the Biology Office (HS142; phone: 424-1102).
Documentation is Required for All Make-up Exams and Quizzes

Any absence from a lecture exam, lab exam, or lab quiz must be supported by documentation.

Makeup Lecture Exams

Students who miss a lecture exam (see Acceptable Reasons for Absences below) are offered a make-up so long as documentation is provided. If you miss the makeup exam on the scheduled date and provide documentation, alternate arrangements for a makeup will be made or an incomplete recorded. Without documentation, a grade of zero will be recorded.

Makeup Lab Quizzes

If you expect to miss your regular lab, then it is your responsibility to inform Dr. Dilkes of your absence and discuss any possible arrangements to write missed quizzes at a later date.

Makeup Lab Exam

Contact Dr. Dilkes immediately if you cannot write a lab exam. Do not forget documentation. Discuss with Dr. Dilkes any possible arrangements to write a missed lab exam at a later date.

Acceptable Reasons for Absences:

The only valid reasons for missing a quiz or exam that will be acceptable for a make-up are:

  1. Health problems. Serious medical conditions of the student (or their dependent requiring home care); medical emergency of student or immediate family member. Healthcare provider-issued document is required stating general reason and timeframe absent, but not nature of medical problem. Documentation is required a maximum 2 weeks after the fact.

  2. Death of immediate family member. Obituary (if student is named) or funeral program. Documentation is required a maximum 2 weeks after the fact.

  3. UW Oshkosh activity. Class trip, competition or travel to same (athletics, Model UN, debate). University-issued document stating general reason and timeframe absent (best to have your coach/supervisor/instructor send a TitanEmail to your instructor directly). Minimum one week notice.

  4. Civic activity. Jury duty, military service ≤ 2 weeks’ duration, court appearance as defendant or witness. Official-issued document stating general reason and timeframe absent. Documentation is required a maximum 2 weeks after the fact.

  5. More than three (3) UW Oshkosh exams on the same day. Photocopy of official class schedule from TitanWeb plus confirmation from other instructors via TitanEmail. Minimum one week notice.

Please note that absences due to holiday plans or oversleeping are not acceptable.
Changing of Grades in Exams or Quizzes

Clerical Error – If you discover an addition error on your exam or quiz, then return it immediately to Dr. Dilkes for correction.

Corrections in Grading – Regrading of an exam will only be considered if a written explanation of the problem accompanies the exam. Any lecture notes or text readings that support regrading must be included with the explanatory note. I will only discuss possible regrading in my office and not during a lecture or lab period. Please note that regrading of an exam will not necessarily result in additional marks. The exam grade may increase, decrease or stay the same.
Academic Misconduct

A university is a community of individuals who have come to together to instruct and learn. Of the many academic and personal goals to be achieved at university, included is the ability to think independently and creatively, hone your written and oral skills for the communication of your ideas and grow as an individual with confidence in your abilities. For the university, it strives continually to improve its ability to instruct effectively and instill in each of its students the self-confidence, skills and knowledge to be successful. Academic misconduct such as cheating and plagiarism harms both the student and university by defeating these goals. A student who cheats fails to acquire the skills, knowledge and self-confidence needed for success, and the university will acquire an undesired reputation. Elimination of cheating and plagiarism is the responsibility of both the university and each student.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is committed to a standard of academic integrity for all students. The system guidelines state: "Students are responsible for the honest completion and representation of their work, for the appropriate citation of sources, and for respect of others' academic endeavors." (UWS 14.01,Wisconsin Administrative Code).
Students are subject to disciplinary action for academic misconduct, which is defined in UWS 14.03, Wisconsin Administrative Code. Students on the UW Oshkosh campus have been suspended from the University for academic misconduct.
Students are encouraged to review the procedures related to violations of academic honesty as outlined in Chapter UWS 14, Wisconsin Administrative Code. The system guidelines and local procedures are printed in the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Student Discipline Code 2003-2004 and can be found on the Dean of Students website at
Specific questions regarding the provisions in Chapter UMW 14 (and institutional procedures approved to implement Chapter UMS 14) should be directed to the Dean of Students Office.
Below are the details of UWS 14.03.

UWS 14.03 Academic misconduct subject to disciplinary action.

(1) Academic misconduct is an act in which a student:

(a) Seeks to claim credit for the work or efforts of another without authorization or citation;

(b) Uses unauthorized materials or fabricated data in any academic exercise;

(c) Forges or falsifies academic documents or records;

(d) Intentionally impedes or damages the academic work of others;

(e) Engages in conduct aimed at making false representation of a student's academic performance; or

(f) Assists other students in any of these acts.

(2) Examples of academic misconduct include, but are not limited to: cheating on an examination; collaborating with others in work to be presented, contrary to the stated rules of the course; submitting a paper or assignment as one's own work when a part or all of the a paper or assignment as one's own work when a part or all of the paper or assignment is the work of another; submitting a paper or assignment that contains ideas or research of others without appropriately identifying the sources of those ideas; stealing examinations or course materials; submitting, if contrary to the rules of a course, work previously presented in another course; tampering with the laboratory experiment or computer program of another student; knowingly and intentionally assisting another student in any of the above, including assistance in an arrangement whereby any work, classroom performance, examination or other activity is submitted or performed by a person other than the student under whose name the work is submitted or performed.
Cheating will not be tolerated in BIO 308. No aids of any type will be allowed during a lecture exam, a lab exam or a lab quiz. Every answer that you submit for grading must reflect your own knowledge and thoughts. Any instance of academic misconduct may result in an academic penalty such as a failing grade on the exam or quiz, a failure in the course or possible expulsion from the university.

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