APS 272 Animal Diversity

Level 2
Semester 1
Credits 20
Pre/Co Requisites -
Recommended Requisites -
Teaching Staff Dr Penelope Watt, Dr Gareth Fraser
Co-ordinator Dr Penelope Watt


This course aims to examine the major invertebrate and vertebrate phyla. It will discuss the variety of structures found in each evolutionary group and demonstrate how structure is related to function and way of life. Evolutionary innovations will be discussed and comparisons will be made between and within groups.
By the end of the unit, a student will be able to
• discuss the key features of the major animal phyla,
• describe how structure is related to function in each group,
• discuss the evolutionary innovations and relationships to be found within and between the groups.


This course will examine the major animal phyla that make up the animal kingdom. It will discuss their structure and how this is related to function and way of life. The major invertebrate groups will be considered including the Porifera, cnidarians, protostomes and deuterostomes. The unique features of the vertebrates and the constituent vertebrate classes will be examined. The biology of the fishes, the evolution of the jaw, the colonisation of the land, the origins of flight and the evolutionary innovations of the mammals will be addressed. The emphasis throughout will be on natural history, development, behaviour, ecology and evolutionary relationships.

DELIVERY METHOD: 32 Lectures, museum demonstrations and one-day (weekend) trip to Twycross Zoo.


ASSESSMENT METHOD: 2 hour examination, consisting of multiple choice and essay questions.

FEEDBACK: Students can submit practice essays to module staff during the module and will receive written feedback.  Practice multiple choice questions will be made available to students.  Students can also receive feedback on performance in examinations by arranging a meeting with their personal tutor after mid-March.

For more information, please go to the APS272 MOLE page.

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