Welcome to the world of animal biology! This course will introduce you to the diversity of the various phyla within the animal kingdom. We will explore the similarities and differences in the survival strategies exhibited by different animal classifications which help to ensure their survival. By examining the various animal body systems developmental patterns in one phyla and comparing these strategies with other phyla, we can appreciate how natural selection within the environment has supported the great diversity of animals found on earth today.
Animals range from the very simple organisms known as sponges (phyla Porifera), to the complex organisms known as chordates (phyla Chordata), to the most prolific insects (phyla Arthropoda). Although quite different structurally, they all have similar characteristics for life that are unique to animals. All animals share the following similarities: are heterotrophic, have a fixed adult size, have contractile proteins for movement, and are multi-cellular. They are found in all the various habitats on earth and are quite fascinating. Studying and understanding their uniqueness should enrich your awareness and appreciation of the world in which we work, play, and study.
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