You will write an 8-12 page (double-spaced) review of 3-4 primary current research articles. In this paper, you will compare the results of these studies and show how they relate to one another. In some cases they may seem to conflict, so it would be important to explain why they might have obtained different results. In many cases the results will be complementary, so you should explain how the suite of papers provide a more comprehensive explanation of one topic in Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy. You must submit for approval the titles of the articles you wish to use and a brief (one paragraph) explanation of their significance to me by Thursday, February 27th, before 5:15 pm.
Your review topic should be related to one of the subjects we cover in class and, therefore, should relate to the evolution of an anatomical system or clade within the Subphylum “Vertebrata.” Your topic should be couched in terms of the comparative anatomy, function, and evolution of the vertebrates or some subset of vertebrates. To find an interesting subject, you could start by looking at the selected references cited in your text at the end of each chapter. While looking at the references in your text is a good starting place, you should focus on recent articles (the last 3-5 years) relating to your topic. You can search on-line databases for subjects or keywords or interest to look for current articles.
Your final paper is due on or before the last day of classes, Tuesday, May 5th, 2020, by 5:15 pm, which will give me sufficient time to grade and return your papers by your final exam. You may, however, submit a version of your paper two weeks or greater prior to this date (by Tuesday, April 21st, 2020). I will critique this version without grading it and return to you for your revisions with sufficient time for you to make your revisions and improve upon your text.
Some Possible Topics (but by no means an exhaustive list):
Origins and Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrate Skull
Comparative Anatomy of the Chondroskeleton
Origins of the Class Mammalia
New Insights in the Comparative Morphology of Electroreception in Vertebrates
Evolution of Feeding Mechanisms in Tetrapods
Evolution of the Vomeronasal Organ
Homologous Muscles of the Head Among Vertebrates
New Insights into the Evolution of Flight in Birds
Convergent Evolution of Digging Mechanisms in Tetrapods
Or, any topic you find of interest in Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy