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Vertebrate Zoology BEN104


In Stock: 100


Price: £388.00


Do you love animals and nature? Would you like to know more about them? If you love animals and want to learn more about them, if you are involved in animal care and protection, animal management, wildlife management and care, veterinary, science teaching, or environmental management and protection, this course is a great option.


Course Structure

The course is divided into ten lessons as follows:

  1. Vertebrate Taxonomy and Diversity
  2. Fishes
  3. Ectotherms: Amphibians and Reptiles
  4. Birds
  5. Overview of Mammals
  6. Marsupials
  7. Mammalian Glires and Insectivora
  8. Carnivores
  9. Hooved Mammals: Ungulata
  10. Primates and other Archonta

What Does Each Lesson Cover?

Lesson 1.

Vertebrate Taxonomy and Diversity Taxonomic classifications (Phylum, Division, Class, Order, Vertebrata, Chordata (chordates), Acrania, Urochordata (Tunicata), Ascidia, Synacidiae, Thaliacea (Salpae), Appendiculariae, Cyclostomata (Lampreys and Hagfish), Chondrichthyes (Sharks, Skates and Rays, Elephant Fishes), Osteichthyes (Bony Fishes) (Choanichthyes (Lungfish), Amphibia (Amphibians) Frogs and Toads, Newts and Salamanders, Caecilians), Reptilia (Crocodiles, Lizards and Snakes, Turtles and Tortoises, Marine Iguanas), Aves (Birds), Mammalia (Mammals). Morphology and Evolution, Environmental and Genetic Influences, Speciation, Diversification, Convergence, Food types and distribution, Terminology, etc.

Lesson 2.

Fishes Fish Diversity (major groups Class Agnatha (jawless fishes), Class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes) and Class Osteichthyes (bony fishes)

Lesson 3.

Ectotherms Amphibians and Reptiles Definitions, Endothermy, Ectotermic, Tetrapods, Urodela (Caudata) Salamanders and Newts; Order Anura (Salientia)  Frogs and Toads, Order Apoda (Gymnophiona) Caecilians, Class Reptilia Reptiles (turtles, lizards, snakes, crocodiles and the extinct Dinosauria), Order Rhynchocephalia Tuatara, Order Chelonia (Testudines) Turtles, Order Crocodilia Crocodilians, Order Squamata Lizards and Snakes

Lesson 4.

Birds -Physiology (Structure) and Anatomy, Feathers, Colour, Legs, Skeletal structure, Muscles, Senses, Behaviour (Flight, Diving, etc), Egg formation, Hatching, Bird Taxonomy Ratitae (flightless) birds; Carinatea (flying birds) Bird orders ( eg. Grebes, divers, Ducks, geese and swans, Storks, flamingoes and herons, Owls, Eagles, falcons and hawks, Pelicans, gannets and cormorants, Chickens, turkeys, game birds and mount birds, Rails, coots and cranes, Pigeons and sand grouse, Gulls, auks and plovers, Parrots, parakeets, Hummingbirds, swifts, Woodpeckers, toucans, Kingfishers, bee-eaters and hornbills, Trogonos, quetzals, plumed birds, Perching birds such as sparrows, starlings, swallows (Passeriformes), Diving birds, loons, Cuckoos, coucals Nighthawks, whippoorwills, Mousebirds, etc.

Lesson 5.

Mammals (Mammalia) Overview - Taxonomy -Sub classes Prototheria (egg laying animals), Metatheria (Marsupials) and Eutheria (Placental masmmals -these include such diverse forms as whales, elephants, shrews, and armadillos, dogs, cats, sheep, cattle and horses. Humans, of course, are also placental mammals).

Lesson 6.

Marsupials -Subclass Theria (eg. kangaroos, koalas, wombats, bandicoots, opossums, phalangers, etc); Marsupials Physiology and locomotion, Reproductio

Lesson 7.

Grandorders Glires and Insectivora - including Rodents, Rabbits, Pikas, Hedgehogs, Moles, Shrews and Tenrecs. Taxonomy, structure, Adaptations

Lesson 8.

Carnivores - includes dogs, wolves, bears, racoons, cats, weasels, hyenas, seals, sea lions and walruses. Taxonomy, Physiology, Adaptations,

Lesson 9

Hoofed Mammals (Ungulata).

There are seven separate orders as follows:

  • Order Artiodactyla. This includes: Hippopotami, Deer, Giraffe, Sheep, Cattle, Antelope, Camelids
  • Order Cetacea. This includes: Dolphins, Porpoises, Whales
  • Order Perissodactyla. This includes: Horses, Rhinoceroses, Tapirs
  • Order Tubulidentata. This includes: Ardvarks
  • Order Hyracoidea. This includes: Hyraxes (or Conies)alt
  • Order Proboscidea. This includes: Elephants
  • Order Sirenia. This includes: Manatees and Dugongs

Lesson 10.

Primates and other Archonta. This grandorder is sub divided into four sub orders:

  • Scandentia e.g. Tree Shrews
  • Dermoptera e.g. Flying Lemurs, Colugos
  • Chiroptera. This order comprises the bats.
  • Primates (Or Order Primates and sub order Strepsirhini) e.g. humans, monkeys, apes and lemurs


Upon completion of this course, the student should be able to:

  • Distinguish between major groups of vertebrates through a demonstrated understanding of their taxonomic classification and diversity.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of all major groups of fishes.
  • To describe the distinguishing characteristics of all major groups of Ectotherms, Amphibians and Reptiles.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of major groups of birds
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of all major groups of Mammals.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of animals in the order Marsupialia and compare mammalian specialisations with those of other vertebrates.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of animals within the grandorders Glires and Insectivora. Explain Ectothermy in a variety of different animals.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of animals within the order Carnivora.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of animals within the grand order Ungulata.
  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of animals within the grandorder Archonta.

What you will do in this Course:

During this course, the student will carry out the following activities. Where a student's mobility is limited or there is a lack of facilities in the student's home locality, an equivalent activity can be offered:

  • Visit a Zoo, Wildlife Park or even a Pet Shop. Observe the range of animals present and report on them.
  • Visit an aquarium supply shop, marine park, fish retailer, or other facility where you can observe fish. If your mobility is restricted or you are unable to locate such a facility, look at the web site of an aquarium, and see what diversity of animals is to be seen on that web site. Identify animals from different orders and report on them.
  • Research the anatomical characteristics of one species of fish
  • Investigate the biological characteristics of one species of amphibian
  • Investigate the biological characteristics of one species of reptile
  • Research the biological characteristics of one species of bird
  • Observe the behaviour of a bird or birds for 1 hour (in the wild, or captivity). Take notes
  • Investigate the biological characteristics of one species of mammal.
  • Research a particular family or genus of marsupial.
  • Visit either a pet shop or zoo and observe any animals from the Glires or Insectivora that you find there.
  • Observe a dog closely. Take note of its external features in the light of the things you have learned in this lesson. Notice the shape of the head, body and legs, the characteristics of the feet, etc. Make notes on your observations. Compile a scientific description of the anatomy of the dog you observed. Where possible, use technical terminology that you have learned during your course.
  • Visit a farm, pet shop or zoo and observe any animals belonging to the grandorder Ungulata that you find there. Make a list of these animals.
  • Research an order, family, genus or species of hooved Mammal (Ungulata).
  • Try to find out about the characteristics of your chosen group
  • Try to observe some monkeys and/or apes. You might do this by visiting a zoo, watching a video or looking on the Internet. Make notes of any similarities and dissimilarities you observe between these animals and humans. Research their physical and behavioural characteristics with a view to comparing these with human characteristics

Careers Outcomes

If you want to spend the greater proportion of your working life actually with vertebrates, then one of the animal caring professions may be for you. This includes such jobs as zoo keepers, aquaria keepers, aviaries, aviculture and fish culture centres and companies, animal breeders, farm workers, pet shop proprietors, nature park carers, animal technicians and animal researchers based at commercial research laboratories or universities, and veterinary staff.

Some of these jobs require minimal qualifications. All of these jobs require knowledge. This course is a good start, but further studies should normally follow.
For some of the better jobs a degree or diploma in a biological science may be needed, and in some countries even more advanced qualifications. Some vertebrates are "flagship species" for conservation projects (primates, aquatic mammals, African ungulates and carnivores, bears). So, any conservation/environment job is likely to have a vertebrate related component.

Media Jobs

There is considerable media interest in primates: television documentaries; scientific and popular journalism; photography. There are a number of courses in film-making, media studies, journalism and photography that your careers service can tell you about.

Tourism Jobs

There are a growing number of travel companies that offer guided nature tours and safaris. They require specialist guides with excellent plant and animal knowledge.

  • Animal care-takers, fish, sharks, mammals, birds and primate care-takers
  • Animal technicians and researchers
  • Veterinary assistants, nurses and professionals
  • Farming or Pet Industry
  • Aviaries and aviculture centres and companies


Event Management
Agriculture, Horticulture
Child Psychology
Aged Care, Counselling
Horse & Equine Care
Business Management
Pet and Animal Care
Event Management
Agriculture, Horticulture
Child Psychology
Aged Care, Counselling
Horse & Equine Care
Business Management
Pet and Animal Care
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Entry Requirements

Anyone can enrol in a short course. However, some prerequisites apply to higher qualifications i.e. Pre-Medical Diploma and Psychology. The ability to be able to read and write in English is a requirement.

Tutor Support

Our tutors are there to encourage, answer questions, explain sticky points and give you support throughout the course. Unlimited contact via email or phone. You never need feel alone.


At the end of each lesson there is an assignment. These are marked and graded by the tutor. Tutor feedback is essential to the learning process. All tutors are qualified and have industry experience.

What's Included

All course materials relevant to the module, unlimited tutor support, and qualification award (e.g. certificate/diploma). There are no other hidden costs or extras.

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Developed from solid open learning principles, SCI courses are constantly updated to ensure you get the most current knowledge from the leaders of their fields. Our courses can be adapted individually to meet the needs and requirements in different parts of the world. You can even design a qualification around your needs. Whether or not you are studying for pleasure or for career advancement, SCI allows you to study where you want, how you want, and achieve your goals.

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