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Animal Anatomy and Physiology

Animal anatomy and physiology is the study of the various different components which animals are composed of and how these different structures work together to allow animals to function. The animal kingdom, Animalia, is comprised of a number of different classes, both invertebrates and vertebrates, which all vary in terms of complexity.

Invertebrates are simpler organisms in comparison to vertebrates. A major difference between invertebrates and vertebrates has to do with their skeleton or lack thereof. Invertebrates are species which do not have a backbone, whereas vertebrates do have an internal skeleton. In addition to this major difference, there are other anatomical differences between these two animal categories.

All species which are part of the animal kingdom fall under the phylum Chordata. Chordates all possess a set of particular features which are present at some stage in an animal’s life. For example, in humans most of these features are present during the embryonic stage. These features include pharyngeal slits and a notochord, among a few others.

Invertebrates and vertebrates both contain a multitude of different classes, with each of these classes maintaining species which are most similar with each other. The study of animal anatomy and physiology investigates the structures which are similar among each class and the specific ways in which all the species within each class function. As species move from invertebrates to vertebrates their modes of locomotion, their respiratory organs and their mechanisms for reproduction among other things, change and generally become more complex.

Animal anatomy and physiology is an integral field of biology and in order to truly understand animal biology, examining the specific features unique to all species is important. However, despite the major differences between all organisms, some similarities do exist. Uncovering these characteristics is one of the main objectives of animal anatomy and physiology. 

Categories within Animal Anatomy and Physiology

Sensory Systems

Postings: 1

Systems for olfaction, touch, vision, taste and hearing are all types of sensory systems which animals can possess.

Animal Nervous System

Postings: 1

An animal’s nervous system is critical for transmitting signals within its body and coordinating voluntary and involuntary actions.

Animal Movement and Muscle Control

Postings: 2

Animal movement is essential for all physiological processes, and muscle control, which is governed by soft tissue, is used to produce this motion in most animals.

Digestive System

Postings: 3

In animals the digestive system is required for not only the digestion of nutrients, but also their acquisition and absorption, and involves egestion which is the excretion of waste products.

Thermal Biology

Postings: 1

Thermal biology is the study of the physiological, biochemical and behaviour strategies that animals have developed to deal with maintaining body temperature homeostasis.

Respiratory Systems

Postings: 2

The respiratory system is responsible for performing gas exchange within an animal’s body at the respiratory surface and between tissues.

Chordates and Humans

Please use citations and cite sources. Discuss the characteristics that define humans as belonging to the phylum Chordata. How do these characteristics change after the embryonic stage of growth?