BI 315 Vertebrate Zoology

Sample Course Syllabus

Pre-requisite: BI 110 General Zoology

Instructor: Dr. Lee Boyd, ext. 2081,

Text: Pough, F.H., Janis C.M., and J.B. Heiser. 2002. Vertebrate Life, 6th ed., Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Course Objectives:

1. Learn the current system of vertebrate classification, including the newer cladistic approach, and the traditional evolutionary one.

2. Become familiar with the anatomical, physiological and ecological characters associated with each of the vertebrate groups.

3. Consider the evolutionary relationships of both fossil and living groups, including the movements of continental land masses and the resulting effects on zoogeographic distribution.

4. Become familiar with some of the techniques for studying vertebrates, including collection, preservation, data recording, curation of museum collections, and field studies.

5. Become familiar with discipline-specific professional societies and their journals. Read some primary literature to see how the scientific method has been used to study vertebrates.

6. Learn about possible careers related to the study of vertebrates.

Course Grade: There will be five examinations, with scores recorded in percentages. An additional two-sevenths of your grade will be derived from:


Participating in


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Students with disabilities may identify themselves voluntarily to the Services for Students with Disabilities Office (SSWDO)to request accommodations. The office is responsible for assisting in arranging accommodations and for identifying resources on campus. New requests for accommodations should be submitted two months or more prior to the date services should begin; however, check with the SSWDO office as soon as a need may arise.
Location: Morgan Hall, Room 150
Phone: (voice calls) 785-231-1010, ext 1629
(TDD) 785-231-1025

Students may also voluntarily identify themselves to the instructor to discuss accommodations.


All students are expected to conduct themselves appropriately and ethically in their academic work. Inappropriate and unethical behavior includes (but is not limited to) giving or receiving unauthorized aid on examinations or in the preparation of papers or other assignments, or knowingly misrepresenting the source of academic work.

Washburn University's Academic Impropriety Policy describes academically unethical behavior in greater detail, and explains the actions that may be taken when such behavior occurs. For a complete copy of the Academic Impropriety Policy, contact the office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Morgan 270, or go on-line to:

Tentative Schedule

Week    Topic                                             Chapter

1             Organization of course   
               Classification                                  1

2             Evolution                                         1 & 7               
               Relationships and Structure            2

3             Relationships and Structure            2   
               Agnaths                                            3       
               Living in Water                               4

4             EXAM 1       
               Chondrichthyes                                5

5             Bony Fishes                                      6

6             Origin and Radiation of Tetrapods 8

7             EXAM 2
               Amphibians                                      9   
               Turtles                                             10

8             Lepidosaurs                                     11
               Ectothermy                                     12

9             Diapsids                                          13 & 14

10            EXAM 3
                Endothermy                                   21
                Bird Origins                                  15

11            Avian Morphology                        15

12            Avian Ecology                               16

13             EXAM 4           
                Origin of Mammals                       17 & 18

14            Mammalian Radiations                 19 & 20

15            Mammalian Ecology                     21


© 2004 by Lee Boyd

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