Biology 3350L Syllabus

Spring 2004

Instructor: Dr. Ron Matson
Lab Room: SC 245
Office: SC 310
Lab Time: M or W 2:00 - 4:45
Office Hours: M 1100-1200
Office Phone: 770.423.6508
W 1100 - 1200
Others by Appointment


Lab 1: 12 / 14 Jan.
Pp xvi - xvii; 3 - 15, 265 - 270 Pp. 19 - 27
Lab 2: 26/ 28 Jan.
Shark - Integumentary & Skeletal Systems, start Muscles
Pp. 31 - 48; 82 - 92
Lab 3: 02/04 Feb.
Shark - Muscles
Pp. 45 - 48; 86 - 89
Lab 4: 09 / 11 Feb.
Shark  Body Cavities, Respiratory, Circulatory and Urogenital Systems 
Pp. 49 - 67; 94 - 99
Lab 5: 16 / 18 Feb.
Shark  Nervous
Pp. 69 - 80; 89 - 90
23 / 25 Feb.
Exam I (Starts at 3:00 pm)
Lab 6 :01/03 Mar.
Cat  Integumentary and Skeletal Systems
Pp. 153 - 170
Lab 7: 15/ 17Mar.
Cat  Muscles
Pp. 171 - 198
Lab 8: 22 / 24 Mar.
Cat  Muscles
Pp. 171 - 198
Lab 9: 29 / 31 Mar.
Cat  Body Cavities, Digestive, Respiratory
Pp. 191 - 230
Lab 10: 05 /07 Apr.
Cat  Urogenital, Circulatory,
Pp. 191 - 230
Lab 11:12 / 14 Apr.
Nervous (Cranial Nerves)
Pp. 239 - 264
19 / 21Apr.
Exam II (Starts at 3:00 pm)

1 Lab Manual:  Wischnitzer, S. 1993. Atlas and Dissection Guide for Comparative Anatomy, 5th Ed. W.H. Freeman & Co.

The BIODIDAC web site has photographs of some of the slides that are viewed in this lab. Also check out other links at my Anatomy Links page.


You will be able to demonstrate via practical exams an ability to to recognize major stuctures found within the vertebrate body. You will acquire basic dissection skills and the ability to use microscopes.


Comparative anatomy is an upper level course designed for biology and related majors. Prerequisites for this course are 10 quarter hours or 8 semester hours of majors level introductory biology. The lab is co-requisite for the lecture and the lecture is co-requisite for the lab. That is, you must be enrolled in both lecture and lab. Students without these prerequisites, or who are not enrolled in both lecture and lab, will be administratively withdrawn from the class.

The major emphasis of labs will be to give you hands on experience dissecting and identifying anatomical structures in a variety of Chordates. You will also become familiar with anatomical terminology. This lab is intended to reinforce information in the lecture by giving you the opportunity to see the actual structures that have evolved during vertebrate history. You will also be responsible for knowing the function(s) of all the structures you observe in lab.


Attendance: Attendance in laboratory is REQUIRED. You must attend the lab for which you are registered. IF you have a legitimate excuse, and IF there is room, I will allow you to switch labs on a case-by-case basis. You may not switch labs in order to postpone taking a lab exam; you must take the lab exams on the day for which you are officially registered in lab. If, for any reason, you miss more than one week of lab you should strongly consider withdrawing from the course. If you miss a lab but do not drop, it is your responsibility to catch up. You may go into the lab anytime between 08:30 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday as long as no other class is scheduled in the room. Please do not disturb other classes by entering the room when it is being utilized. The lab will NOT be available at nights or on weekends.

Plan on taking the full amount of time in all labs. Bring your lab manual to all labs (including the very first lab). For the majority of students, it is probably wise to expect to put extra time in the lab. An additional two to three (2-3) hours per week in lab is worth planning on. See "Helpful Hints" for more information.

Please arrive before the beginning of lab so as not to disturb your fellow students. DO NOT bring other people (friends, spouses, children etc.) to lab. Look over all laboratory material before coming to lab. Turn off all cell phones, pagers etc.

Gloves and dissecting tools (scalpel, scalpel blades, forceps, blunt probe, scissors) will be made available to you in lab. You will be assigned a set of dissecting instruments and you are responsible for them. You should clean them after every use. If you don't have a pair already, you will also need to purchase and use safety glasses/goggles. If you want a lab coat, they can be purchased in the bookstore. Bring these items to all labs.

Mandatory Laboratory Procedures: 

1. You must wear safety glasses/goggles during all dissections. I strongly suggest that you not wear "nice" clothes. You can wear a lab coat if you wish.

2. You must wear gloves while dissecting. If you rip/cut your gloves, replace them!

3. You must follow all procedures for proper handling, use and disposal of all dissected specimens, tissues, equipment and fluids.

4. No eating, drinking or smoking is ever permitted in the laboratory.

5. All of your materials must be put away and your work area cleaned before you leave the laboratory.

Some of the specimens will have been preserved in a solution containing formalin (a weak solution containing formaldehyde). It should not present any health risks as long as you follow proper procedures. If you would like further information, a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) is available. If you have any questions please see me.

Examinations  and Grades: There are two practical examinations scheduled during the semester. These exams will be timed exams where you must identify the taxa, the structures and/or provide a function for the structure in question. You will have only one opportunity to view the specimens during the exam. The names of all structures and all taxa must be spelled correctly. The final exam will emphasize material since the first practical but it will be comprehensive - material from the first half of the semester is fair game. You must take all exams on the date offered unless you provide an excuse deemed by me to be satisfactory (e.g., make arrangements in advance, provide a note from a physician). If an acceptable excuse is provided for missing either exam, then you will be given an oral exam whereby I will point to structures and ask you to identify them and/or provide a function. The final exam will emphasize material from the second half of the semester but will be comprehensive - it is fair game to ask material that was on the first practical exam. If you miss an exam without an acceptable excuse, you will receive the grade of 0 (zero) for that exam. You must take both exams to receive credit for this course; tentative exam dates are given on the course schedule -- please mark your calendars. If an exam has to be canceled because of inclement weather (i.e., if the entire university is closed) it will be given during the next scheduled lab period (check here to see if the campus is closed). If there are multiple days of inclement weather, I reserve the right to cancel an exam and adjust the total points for the course accordingly. If you receive 60% or less of the points on the first exam, please talk to me. Such a score indicates that you are having trouble in this class and you may need to consider withdrawing.

The grading procedure for this course is as follows: 

Exam I
100 pts. (40%)
Exam II
150 pts. (60%)
250 pts. (100%)

Your grade for this course will be based on the following point distribution: A = 250-225 points; B = 224-200 points; C = 199-175 points; D = 174-150 points; F = < 149 points. There is no "extra-credit." The final grading scale may be adjusted at the discretion of the instructor. If you have any questions about the grading of an exam, please discuss the situation with me immediately after receiving the graded exam. Exams will not be regraded at the end of the semester. Any material not picked-up by the end of the  semester  will be discarded within 60 days of the end of the semester. I reserve the right to adjust the point totals for this course if the need arises. You will be notified of such changes in lecture and/or via the Class Information link on the Biology 3350L homepage.

GRADES WILL NOT BE POSTED at the end of the semester. Please check Owl Registration to view your grades.

Accommodations: Any student with a documented disability or medical condition needing academic accommodations of class-related activities or schedules must contact the instructor immediately. Written verification from the KSU disAbled Student Support Services is required. No requirements exist that accommodations be made prior to completion of this approved University documentation. All discussions will remain confidential.

Academic Honesty: Every KSU student is responsible for upholding the provisions of the Student Code of Conduct, as published in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs. Section II of the Student Code of Conduct addresses the University's policy on academic honesty, including provisions regarding plagiarism and cheating, unauthorized access to University materials, misrepresentation/falsification of University records or academic work, malicious removal, retention, or destruction of library materials, malicious/intentional misuse of computer facilities and/or services, and misuse of student identification cards. Incidents of alleged academic misconduct will be handled through the established procedures of the University Judiciary Program, which includes either an "informal" resolution by a faculty member, resulting in a grade adjustment, or a formal hearing procedure, which may subject a student to the Code of Conduct's minimum one semester suspension requirement.

You are expected to follow the regulations as stated on pages 233-236 of the 2003-2004 of the Kennesaw State University Undergraduate Catalog. Plagiarism and cheating of any kind will not be tolerated. This includes copying papers and not providing proper literature citations. Any violations of the Student Conduct Regulations will be handled through the University Court.

Withdrawal Policy: The withdrawal policy as stated on page 40 of the 2003-2004 Kennesaw State University Undergraduate Catalog will be followed; see also the current schedule of classes. For this semester, the last day to withdraw without academic penalty is 03 March 2004. Make certain to follow all procedures if you decide to withdraw; failure to do so will result in your being assigned a grade of  "F" for the course. If you withdraw from this course, make certain to withdraw from Biology 3350L as well (they are corequisite to each other and you must be enrolled in both). Please note, that while there is no academic penalty for withdrawing, there can be financial and other types of penalties. For example, a grade of "W" does count against hours attempted for Hope scholarship purposes. A pattern of withdrawing can hurt you in your attempt to get a job or into graduate/professional school. Do not make a habit out of withdrawing.

Recycling Policy: REDUCE WASTE AND RECYCLE. If possible, please use (purchase) recycled goods. On campus, paper can be recycled in the bins found in the front of each classroom and aluminum cans can be recycled in theappropriate containers in the hall. Please do not mix waste with the materials to be recycled. It's your planet, your campus, your health and well being and your economy -- help them all by recycling. See page 248 of the current catalog for the KSU Position Statement on Environmental Awareness.

URL: Copies of this syllabus, along with other material relevant to this course, can be found on the course Homepage. The URL for the course Homepage is:

Click here to find web sites related to this course. You may be required to utilize this web site to obtain some course materials. See me if you have any trouble accessing this or any other web site. There are computers available for your use in the atrium of the Science Building, and in computer labs in the Science Building, Burruss Building, and the Student Center as well as at other locations on campus. I will post messages relating to any changes to this syllabus on this website. Check the "Class Information" page for other information that is relevant to this course. You are responsible for any changes posted.

Office Hours: My office hours are listed on the first page of this syllabus. I encourage you to avail yourself of them.  If you cannot make it to any of these scheduled hours, please make an appointment. I'm certain that we can find a mutually acceptable time to meet. Furthermore, note that my e-mail address is on the top of the first page. Feel free to e-mail me. I will respond as soon as possible.

Your continued presence in this course signifies your acceptance of the policies and procedures outlined above