Vertebrate Structure and Function

Lecture Syllabus ‑ Spring 2008


NOTE: This class has a lab associated with it. The Section B01 listing on the Columbia Directory of Classes refers to this lab portion of the class. Both the lab and lecture are REQUIRED. YOU DO NOT have to register for the lab Section, HOWEVER, you must take both lab periods


Lecture Room 327 Mudd Building M W F 9:00 ‑ 9:50 AM.


* Capital "R" signifies required reading. Small "h" and "p" in parentheses indicate that material is found in the small handout packet or the large packet, respectively.




Jan 23 Introduction, Relative Size I

Jan 25 Relative Size II


Walker, Chapter 1 [1,2] R* First chapter is from the 2nd edition, those in [ ] from the 3rd.

Relative Size (h*) R

Schmidt Nielsen, "Work" Chapter 6 R




Jan 28 General concepts

Jan 39, Feb 1- 4 Fibers ‑ Tendons and Ligaments

Feb 6 Cartilage, Bone and Special Systems

Feb 8, 11, 13, 15 Skeleton ‑ External Forces

Feb 18, 20, 22 Skeleton ‑ Internal Forces


Liem & Walker, Chapters, 6,7,8 [7,8,9] R

"Intuitive Physics" (p*) (R)

"Terminology " (Physical Terms) (h) (R)

"Body as engineer" (p) (R)

"The Avian Mandible as a Structural Girder" (p)

"The Mechanics of One‑ and Two‑Joint Muscles" (p) (pp. 1‑17, R)

"The Avian Skeletomuscular System" (p; pp. 137‑164, R)

"Mechanical analysis ‑ climbing mammals" (p) (R)

"A Pseudoarthrosis in the Forelimb of a Sloth" (p)

"Photoelastic studies on functional structure of bone" (p)

"Electrical effects in bone" (p)


Feb 27 ‑ Wednesday: FIRST HOUR EXAM (Review: Feb 26 -Tuesday: 1:00 - 4:00 PM)





Feb 25, 29 General Concepts ‑ Basic Morphology and Physiology

March 3, 5 Macromolecular and Sliding Filament Levels

March 7 Sarcomere Level

March 10, 12 Fiber Level

March 14 Muscle Level, and Pinnate Muscles

March 24 Muscle Systems and Spurt‑Shunt Muscles

March 26 Two‑Joint Muscles

March 28 Adaptation of Muscles


Liem & Walker, Chapter 9, 10 [10, 11] R

Schmidt‑Nielsen, "Work" Chapter 4 (R)

"The Avian Skeletomuscular System" (p) (pp. 164‑223 R)

"Functional Significance of Muscle Architecture" (p, R)

"The Mechanics of One‑ and Two‑Joint Muscles" (p, R)

"The sarcoplasmic reticulum" (p, R)

"Fiber Structure and Muscle function" (p)

"The unification of muscle structure and function" (p)

"Distribution and innervation of short, interdigitated muscle fibers in parallel‑fibered muscles" (p)


April 2 ‑ Wednesday: SECOND HOUR EXAM (Review: April 1 -Tuesday: 1:00 - 4:00 PM)




March 31 Phylogeny of Chordates

April 4, 7 Phylogeny of Fishes

April 9, 11, 14 Phylogeny of Tetrapods

April 16 Evolution of the Extra‑Embryonic Membranes


Liem & Walker, Chapters 2, 3, 4 [2,3,4] R

"Comparisons, Homology and Phylogeny" (h, R)

"The Avian Skeletomuscular System" (p, pp. 223‑245)

"Neural crest and origin of vertebrates" (p, R)

"Relationships...based on...hydrostatic skeleton" (p, R)









April 18 Countercurrent Systems


Schmidt‑Nielsen, "Work" Chapter 5 (R)

"The wonderful net" (p, R)


April 21, 23 Kidney and Water Balance


Liem & Walker, Chapters 20 [20] (R)

Schmidt‑Nielsen, "Work" Chapters 1, 2 (R)

"Salt glands" (p, R)


April 25, 28 Gills, Lungs and Respiration


Liem & Walker, Chapter 18 [18] (R)

Schmidt‑Nielsen, "Work" Chapter 3 (R)


April 30, May 2 Heart and Circulatory System


Liem & Walker, Chapter 19 [19] (R)


May 5 Evolution of Warm‑bloodedness


May 9 ‑ Friday: FINAL EXAMINATION (Review: May 8 -Thursday: 9:00AM - 12:00 Noon)


* Capital "R" signifies required reading. Small "h" and "p" in parentheses indicate that material may be found in the small handout packet or the large packet, respectively.




Please note that one half of your final grade in the course will be based on the grades in the two hour examinations and the final examination, and that the other half of the final grade will be based on the grades in the laboratory examinations and your laboratory work. If the grade in either the first hour examination or the first laboratory examination is significantly lower that those in the other examinations, then that grade will be largely, but not completely, discounted in assigning the final grade in the course. Note that this does not mean that your lowest examination grade will be dropped, only that a poor grade in one of the two first examinations will be largely discounted if the rest of your grades are significantly better.


You will not be required to keep any written notes or drawings of your dissections, but you are free to do either or both if they assist in your learning.





TEXTS [Required: (available in Barnes and Noble College Bookstore, or get on a .com web site)]


1. Functional Anatomy of the Vertebrates. An Evolutionary perspective.

(2nd, Liem & Walker Saunders; or 3rd Edition, Liem, Bemis, Walker and Grande).


2. Vertebrate Dissection. (8th or 9th Edition). Homberger & Walker, Paperback.


3. How Animals Work. K. Schmidt‑Nielsen, Cambridge University Press, Paperback.


MATERIALS IN THE LARGE HANDOUT PACKAGE: (Available in the laboratory upon

payment of a deposit of $ 20.00 which will be returned when the package is returned in good condition.)


1. The wonderful net ‑‑ Scholander

2. A pseudoarthrosis in the forelimb of a sloth ‑‑ Bock and Atkins

3. The functional significance of muscle architecture ‑ a theoretical analysis ‑‑ Gans and Bock

4. Kinetics of the avian skull ‑‑ Bock

5. The avian mandible as a structural girder ‑‑ Bock and Kummer

6. Mechanics of one‑ and two‑joint muscles ‑‑ Bock

7. The avian skeletomuscular system ‑‑ Bock

8. Set of various illustrations from the avian skeletomuscular system

9. Salt glands ‑‑ Schmidt‑Nielsen

10. Desert ground squirrels ‑‑ Bartholomew and Hudson

11. The eland and the oryx ‑‑ Taylor

12. Electrical effects in bone ‑‑ Bassett

13. Photoelastic studies on the functional structure of bone ‑‑ Kummer

14. Excerpts from the woodpecker article ‑‑ Winkler and Bock

15. The sarcoplasmic reticulum ‑‑ Porter and Franzini‑Armstrong

16. Mechanical analysis of climbing mammals ‑‑ Bock and Winkler

17. The body as an engineer ‑‑ Woodhead‑Galloway

18. The neural crest and the origin of the vertebrates ‑‑ Gans and Northcutt

19. Relationships...based on functional‑mechanical analysis of the hydrostatic skeleton ‑‑ Gutmann

20. Intuitive physics ‑‑ McCloskey

21. Fiber Structure and Muscle function ‑‑ Gans

22. The unification of muscle structure and function: A semicentennial anniversary ‑‑ Herrmann

23. Distribution and innervation of short, interdigitated muscle fibers in parallel‑fibered muscles of the cat hindlimb ‑‑ Loeb, et al.







Laboratory ‑ 1108-1102 Fairchild: M ‑‑ W: 1 ‑ 5 PM. Please note you must attend both laboratory sessions during the week. [Note the page numbers in square brackets are from the 8th edition of Vertebrate Dissection.]


1) Jan 23: Anatomical Terminology (Vertebrate Dissection pp. xv‑xvi [xi‑xii]), Fishes: General external features (Ch 3, pp. 25-37 [27‑44]), Axial and Visceral skeleton (Ch 4, pp. 38-47, 85-91 [52‑63]; Ch 5, pp. 63-79, 85-91 [83‑94, 102-110]; pp. 80-85 [61‑79; 95‑102]). Appendicular skeleton (Ch 6, pp. 92-95, 103-114; 95-102 [111‑115, 124-132; [115‑124)]).


2) Jan 28: Muscular System ‑ Shark (Ch 7, pp. 115-136 [133‑156]; 136-144 [56‑165]).


3) Feb 4: Cat: External features (Chapter 3, pp. 33-37 [47‑51]). Cat Muscle: (Chapter 7, pp.144-162 [165‑186]). Note care must be taken when skinning the cat not to dissect too deeply and hence damage the underlying muscles.


4) Feb 11: Cat Muscle: (Chapter 7, pp. 144-162 [165‑186]).


5) Feb 18: Cat Muscle ‑ Cont. (Chapter 7, pp. 162-183 [186‑211]).


6) Feb 25: Cat Muscle ‑ Cont. (Chapter 7, pp. 162-183 [186‑211]).


7) March 3: Cat Muscle ‑ Complete and review


MIDTERM PRACTICAL EXAMINATION: Monday, 10, March PM (time to be announced)


8) March 24: Sense Organs, Shark Brain, Sheep Brain, cow eyes. Nervous System (Chap 8, pp. 184-205 [212‑236]; Chap 9, pp. 206-222 [237‑258]; pp. 225-248 [260‑282]; pp.222-225 [282‑286]).


9) March 31: Coelom, Digestive and respiratory systems (Chap 10, pp. 249-265 [287‑306]; 272-289 [314‑335]; pp. 265-271 [306-313]).


10) April 7: Circulatory System ‑ Shark (Chap 11, pp. 290-309 [336‑357]; [308-318 [357‑366]).


11) April 14: Circulatory System ‑ Cat (Chapter 11, pp. 318-345 [367‑393]).


12) April21: Circulatory System ‑ Cat (Chapter 11, pp. 318-345 [367‑393]).


13) April 28: Excretory and Reproductive System (Chapter 12, pp. 347-358 [395‑411]; 361-379 [413‑431]; 358-361 [410- 413]).


14) May 5: Completion and Review

FINAL PRACTICAL EXAMINATION: Tuesday, 6 May , 2004; PM (Time to be announced)


Please note that your dissections will be graded two times during the term, about the times of the midterm examination and of the final examination.


Laboratory Manual: D.G. Homberger and W.F. Walker, Vertebrate Dissection, 9th Edition [page references in square brackets are to the 8th edition]. Read the indicated pages in the laboratory dissection guide before each laboratory.


Urge that you also read the corresponding chapters in Walker's Functional Anatomy of the Vertebrates before each laboratory. This is most important for completion of the laboratory work in the time assigned.


Dates for Laboratory Examinations are absolutely firm. No make‑ups are possible

Please note that the first laboratory examination is before the Spring Holidays, and hence that you will not have this period to study for it.


Laboratory Materials needed for Biology W3002Y

Materials needed for dissection (Do not purchase these until you are provided with additional information in the laboratory):

1 pair of scissors ‑ heavy

1 pair of fine point scissors (make sure points meet)

1 scalpel with removable blade

2 dozen blades (assorted)

1 probe

1 pair of strong forceps


Do not get scalpels with a fixed blade. They are difficult to sharpen and will not hold a good edge. The best quality instruments are stainless steel. These will not rust and you will be able to use them for years. The next best are nickel plated and then chrome plated. We suggest that you do not get your dissecting instruments until the first laboratory period when the TA will discuss what is needed and suggest where they may be purchased. The instruments can be purchased from any surgical supply house. Plastic gloves can also be purchased from the surgical supply house. A heavy lanolin creme works better than gloves.


Unfortunately we cannot provide a locked drawer in the laboratory so that you will not be able to store your laboratory materials there, and will have to take them with you and bring them each time you work in the lab. You will be provided with a key to the laboratory so that you can work there on your own whenever the building is opened, including weekends.



Office: 733 Mudd.

Mail box: 2428 Fairchild (front of building).