Comparative Anatomy

Degree course: 
Corso di First cycle degree in BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Academic year when starting the degree: 
Academic year in which the course will be held: 
Course type: 
Compulsory subjects, characteristic of the class
First Semester
Standard lectures hours: 
Detail of lecture’s hours: 
Lesson (40 hours), Laboratory (16 hours)

Successful examination in Cytology and Histology is an important prerequisite.

Final Examination: 

Written test. (Oral examination for students enrolled until the accademic year 2015-2016).

Voto Finale

At the end of the course the students, knowing the embryonic development, will be able to describe and recognize the morphology, structure and evolution of vertebrates. The basics will indeed allow the understanding of the exploitation of comparative anatomy in forensic medicine, biotechnology, veterinary, and other disciplines.

1. Introduction, evolution and embryonic development (evo-devo) (2 hrs, lesson).
2. Skin and annexes (4 hrs, lesson and microscopy practice exercise).
3. Notocorde, cartilagineous and osseous skeleton of Vertebrates. The axial (backbone and skull) and appendicular skeleton. Metamerism, evolution, functional adaptations (6 hrs, lessons with introduction to the complete human skeleton).
4. Muscle: types, properties, metamerism, mechanical function. The neuro-muscular junction (3 hrs, lesson and microscopy practice exercise).
5. Respiratory apparatus: gills, lungs, and omologous structures (3 hrs, lesson and microscopy practice exercise).
6. Blood, lymph, vessel: haematopoiesis, angiogenesis, vasculogenesis (3 hrs, lesson and microscopy practice exercise).
7. Circulation: evolution of the heart, pulmonary and systemic circulation in vertebrates (3 hrs, lesson and microscopy practice exercise).
8. Gastroenteric apparatus, liver and pancreas (4 hrs, lesson and microscopy practice exercise).
9. Urinary apparatus, kidney and excretory organs (3 hrs, lesson and microscopy practice exercise).
10. Male and female reproductive apparatuses: types of gonads, gametes maturation, accessory organs (10 hrs, lesson and microscopy practice exercise).
11. Endocrine system: Hypothalamus-pituitary axes, peripheral glands (2 hrs, lesson).
12. Central nervous system: cephalization, brain and spinal cord development and function.
e le sue funzioni (3 hrs, lesson and microscopy practice exercise).
13. Peripheral nervous system: sensory and motor fibers (1 hr, lesson).
14. Autonomic nervous system: visceral functions control. The ganglion (1 hr, lesson).
15. Sensory organs: evolution of systems to communicate with the environment and other organisms (2 hrs, lesson).
Six more hours of practical lessons will be dedicated to the the use of educational software for virtual dissection of animals of different classes of vertebrates (teleost, amphibian, bird and mammal).

Recommended textbook:
Anatomia Comparata, a cura di V. Stingo. edi.ermes.
Other textbooks:
• George C Kent. 1997. Anatomia comparata dei vertebrati. Piccin, Padova (fuori
• Liem, K.F., Bemis WE, Sillin WB. 2002. Anatomia comparata dei vertebrati: una visione funzionale ed evolutiva. EdiSES, Napoli. (seconda ed. : 2012), Autori: Bartolini, Liem, Benis & Sillin

Several copies of the books are freely available at the library of Medicina e di Scienze, via J-H. Dunant, 3.
The students will have access to all the slides used for the lectures, in addition to short descriptions of the material presented during the exercitations. The slides will be available shortly after the lessons or the exercise.

Lessons and practical use of educational software.
Microscopy practice exercise: study of slides (histology of anatomical structures from different vertebrates). The students must have participated to at least 75% of the practice exercises to acced the final written test.

The students are welcome at the room of the docent, Prof. Anna Giulia Cattaneo (via Dunant, 3 - Varese). Please, arrange an appointment by e-mail.
The e-mail forum (available at the e-learning platform) will be the preferential way for communicating to the students. All enrolled students, and those of previous years that wait for the examination, will take part.