Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Life Sciences
Authors: Avinoam Adam, Simona Ginsburg, Moshe Wolk, Nurit Wengier
Vertebrates are the largest animals that ever lived on our planet and include humans. Taking an evolutionary approach, the course reviews the main characteristics and the prolonged evolutionary development of vertebrates, emphasizing the extensive morphological and functional changes which took place with the transition from life in water to life on land. The course includes four laboratory sessions in which students perform dissections of three vertebrates and microscopic examination of tissues, and view an exhibit of models.
Topics: Overview of the entire animal kingdom, classification methods, the place of vertebrates within the animal kingdom and the structure principles common to them; Background material and specific instructions for dissections to be conducted in the laboratory; Water as a living environment and problems related to living in this environment, focusing on respiration, flotation and osmoregulation; Transition to land and its far-reaching significance as reflected in the structure and function of the skeleton and of the blood, respiratory, and renal systems of vertebrates; Amphibian and land vertebrates – reptiles, birds and mammals, special abilities that result from life on land, particularly with respect to movement, reproduction and regulation of body temperature; Embryonic development of vertebrates; The nervous system and the senses; The evolution of the human species and the characteristics of humans as atypical vertebrates.