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Second Semester 
Teaching style
Lingua Insegnamento

Informazioni aggiuntive

Course Curriculum CFU Length(h)


To provide students with a basic knowledge useful to make a 'comparison' between the anatomical structures of the different groups of vertebrates, with particular emphasis on identificatying and analyzing the causes of form, structural organization and evolutionary adaptations in different organs and apparatuses.
At the end of the course students are expected to
- have acquired knowledge of the structural organization of the anatomy through a systematic analysis at gross and microscopic level;
- demonstrate understanding of the interrelationships between structure and function of systems, organs and tissues.
- achieve competence in the use of anatomical and medical terminology in order to develop their professional communication skills.

European descriptors

Knowledge and understanding:
lectures are planned to guide the student acquiring basic knowledge of the structural organization of the anatomical structures of the different groups of Vertebrates as seen by an evolutionistic standpoint.

Applying knowledge and understanding:
Autonomous and guided practical activities aimed at systematizing knowledge of the Vertebrates anatomy

Communication skills:
Development of an appropriate degree of communicative skills by using the specific anatomical language (nomenclature and terminology) in appropriate, autonomous and meaningful fashion. Ability to give correct description of topography and structural organization of the different organs and systems of the diverse groups of Vertebrates. Increase oral and non-verbal (drawings, conceptual maps) communicative competences.

Learning skills:
Theoretical knowledge of the structural and functional organization of the ontogenetic and phylogenetic development of organs and systems within the vertebrate groups. Ability to learn with understanding by using advanced textbooks of academic level and capacity of learning beyond formal educational environment and continuously updating analytical and subject specific knowledge.


Knowledge of General and Systematic Zoology


Vertebrate Embryology: Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Mammals (including Man). Germinal cells; embryonic adnexa; Development in Anamni and Amniotes
Vertebrate evolution. Systematics of Vertebrates. Subdivision of Chordates, Fish, Amphibians, Reptiles, Birds, Mammals. The principal evolutionary passages.
Tegument: characteristics and evolution.
Skeletal apparatus: Particulars and ossification. Dorsal chord, Fish and mammal spinal column. Girdle and limbs in birds and mammals. Adaptation of the limb for flight, running, swimming, jumping and fossor limbs. Evolutionary aspects of the cranium: from aquatic animals to tetrapods. Gills and their evolution. Outline of Amphibian, Reptile and Bird craniums.
Muscular apparatus: Classification and characteristics of muscles. Contraction mechanism. Axial and appendicular muscles. Electric organs. Movement in water and in flight.
Functional anatomy. Support and locomotion in aquatic, earth and air environments.
Respiratory apparatus: branchial apparatus and aquatic respiration; respiration of air in some Teleostei and the swimming bladder; airways; subsidiary, cutaneous and oral-pharyngeal respiration lungs and air respiration. Syringes
Digestive apparatus from Fish to Mammals: the mouth, palate evolution, salivary glands, teeth , tongue, morphology of the walls of the alimentary canal , the stomach and particularities in ruminants, the intestine, the cloaca.
Urogenital apparatus from Fish to Mammals: the kidney system, pronephros, mesonephros, metanephros.
Circulatory apparatus: Arterial circulation, superficial venous circulation, evolution of the heart in Vertebrates.
Reproductive apparatus: gonads, genital ducts, viviparity and placentation.
The nervous system: The neuron. Peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system.
Sense organs: eye, ear.
Introduction to dissection techniques.

Teaching Methods

The course comprises 48 hours of class lectures. Lectures are comprehensive of in itinere written examinations and are supplemented with practical tutorials of gross anatomy.
The activities can be carried out online as a result of critical issues due to the pandemic and according to any Rector's decision.
All material and communications during the course will be made available in the virtual classroom on Moodle, UNICA's e-learning. Requests by e-mail must be sent by the institutional e-mail (... @ The teacher will not reply to emails sent with other email addresses.

Verification of learning

The final evaluation consisting in oral examination. The rating is out of thirty and expresses the overall assessment of the students' progress during the course (assessed with written examinations in itinere) and the answers on some different topics proposed, for each of which must be demonstrated at least an elementary knowledge.
Details on the elements that during the oral examination contribute to the identification of the minimum level for the achievement of sufficiency are as follows:
a) Sufficient (18 to 20/30)
The candidate demonstrates little acquisition of theoretical knowledge, superficial level, many gaps. Modest communicative abilities, but still sufficient to support a coherent dialogue, logical capacity and consequentiality in fitting the subjects of elementary level; poor capacity of synthesis and rather stunted ability of graphical expression, lack of interaction with the teacher during the interview.
b) Moderate (21 to 23/30)
The applicant demonstrates a moderate acquisition of knowledge but lack of expatiation, a few gaps; communicative abilities more than sufficient to support a coherent dialogue; acceptable mastery of the scientific language, logical capacity and consequentiality in fitting the arguments of moderate complexity, good enough capacity of synthesis and acceptable ability of graphical expression.
c) Good (24 to 26/30)
The candidate demonstrates a rather large wealth of knowledge, moderate in-depth, with small gaps; satisfactory mastery of the communicative abilities and meaningful scientific language; dialogical ability and critical thinking well detectable, good capacity of synthesis and more than acceptable ability of graphical expression.
d) Outstanding (27 to 29/30)
The candidate demonstrates a very extensive wealth of notions, high in-depth, with marginal gaps; remarkable ability in communicating and high mastery of scientific language; remarkable dialogical capacity, good competence and relevant aptitude for logical synthesis, high capacity of synthesis and graphical expression.
e) Excellent (30/30)
The candidate demonstrates a wealth of very extensive and in-depth knowledge, irrelevant gaps, high capacity and high mastery in communicating through the scientific language; excellent dialogical ability and marked aptitude to make connections among different subjects, excellent ability to synthesize and very familiar with the graphical expression.

The maximum mark cum laude is attributed to the candidates clearly above average, and whose notional, expressive, conceptual, logical limits, if any, as a whole are completely irrelevant.


Recommended textbooks (one of the following):
Giavini E, Menegola E. "Manuale di Anatomia Comparata" Ed. EDISES
Kent, Anatomia Comparata dei Vertebrati, Piccin
Liem et al “Anatomia comparata dei vertebrati” Ed. EDISES
Kardong K. V. “Vertebrati. Anatomia comparata, funzione, evoluzione” Ed. McGrow-Hill
Zavanella T. e Cardani R. “Manuale di Anatomia dei Vertebrati” Antonio Delfino Editore
Stingo V. "Anatomia Comparata" Edizioni Edi.Ermes

More Information

Teaching tools, materials and self-learning tools
Anatomical models available at the section of Biologia Animale ed Ecologia of the Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell’Ambiente; atlases and textbooks of gross and microscopic comparative anatomy available at the Biblioteca Centrale dell’Area Biomedica; power point slides used during the lectures provided by the teacher. 

Questionnaire and social

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