Comparative Anatomy Final Exam Essays- Fall 2004 by 85JvoV

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									                                    Comparative Anatomy Final Exam Essays- Fall 2010

 You are free to consult whatever sources will help you best answer the questions. This can include classmates or text
   and lab books, but does not include me.
 Invest in sufficient time to prepare your answers. My expectations for the quality of answer necessary to receive full
   credit will be greater due to your ability to prepare fully.
 You may not bring an essay or outline into the exam room. You must write your essay from memory.
 One essay from this list will be selected at the start of the final exam and the entire class will write on that topic.
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Essay #1
The tendency of vertebrate anatomical structures to evolve as opportunity arises is best exemplified by tissues and organs
that, when freed from the confines of functioning in one context greatly modify and go into service elsewhere.
Carefully and completely describe two examples, one from each of two separate organ systems, of anatomical features
found in mammals that had an entirely different function in their non-Mammalian ancestors. Was there a change in
function associated with this change in anatomy? (Try to pick examples for which this answer is interesting.) If so, how?
Is there a clearly definable stimulus for this change? The use of labeled diagrams to clarify points made in writing is
encouraged.


Essay #2
Branchial (visceral) arches are significant developmental and topographic landmarks in vertebrates. During vertebrate
evolution this region in particular has undergone significant changes with respect to the components of the i) circulatory
(i.e. the aortic arches), ii) pharyngeal “pouches”, iii) skeletal, iv) muscular and v) nervous elements present.
Describe the major components of each of the noted systems as seen in a representative primitive vertebrate. Then, using
the 1st arch of the mammal as your example, describe the specific components of each system found in that arch. Be as
specific as practical in your consideration (keeping in mind that I require no more detail than those structures noted in lab or
lecture or available in your textbook).


Essay #3
We spent a great deal of time this semester with Neil Shubin’s book, Your Inner Fish. His title reflects is main thesis- if
you look closely enough, buried in our anatomy (and genes!) is abundant evidence of our evolutionary past (including fish).
Throughout the semester, I have forwarded the same thesis- that the anatomy of extant vertebrates provides insight into the
evolutionary past of all vertebrates; and that mammals (including ourselves) are no exception.

Using mammals in place of human specifically, illustrate this thesis using two (2) carefully selected and extensively
described (and illustrated) examples.


Essay #4
Our Friday quizzes this semester we meant to guide you in becoming familiar with a branch of Biology that, as one might
say, “gets no respect” in modern Biology- the study of taxonomy. Even a generation ago it was a given that a practicing
Biologist would be conversant in what a “teleost”, “therapsid”, “anura”, etc… are.

Taxonomists divide the vertebrates into the several major groups (clades, in most cases): amphibians, bony fish, jawless
fish, cartilaginous fish, birds, mammals and reptiles.

Focusing solely on anatomy, provide an overview of what you learned at this most general of taxonomic levels. With
respect to content, generate a narrative essay that:
     places these groups in chronological sequence reflecting their emergence in the history of vertebrate life;
     provides an approximate time for their emergence among the vertebrate fauna;
     provides a brief description encompassing the essential syapomorphies uniquely defining each group.

								
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