S182 Studying Mammals Diary

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19th June

Just about to start on SP9 - so I am nearly through this very enjoyable course! I've been doing the ECA questions as I go - so have only a couple left to do. Can't say I'm all that happy with them though! Did lemurs raft it over from Africa to Madagascar?? There's one worth looking into!!

26th May

Just over a week into the course, and I find myself in the middle of section 4 - I've watched the film, read the book - and now just need to study the coursebook. I find I'm a little impatient with this, as I MUCH prefer to study the coursebook than anything else - but the other two things must come first. I find the Life of Mammals book extremely interesting - and the DVDs are too, although I am really not one for watching films - I'd much rather read. Anyway, that's no criticism of the course - just a fluke of mine.

The course contents are absolutely excellent - learning so much about mammals that I didn't even know there was to learn! I am never going to be all that crazy on bats or rats though..

17th May

Course starts! And the Course Website opened. Very interesting!

16th May 2003

I registered for this course last Saturday night; not quite on a whim! I really need a change of scene from S103 (which I'm going to run out of work on very soon) and this course should help towards S292 and S365. The course materials arrived this afternoon. All but the DVDs that is - as there's a bit of trouble there and they'll be arriving later (well, this is a pilot!). Everything is very nice, as is usual with the OU - excellent value for money. The BBC Life of Mammals book + Course Book. Even though I am really enjoying Block 9 of S103, I'm at a sticky bit right now (DNA--RNA) and needed a rest - SO, read through Chapter 1 of LoM. Very interesting - and I LOVE echidnas! LoM.jpg - 6413 Bytes
Coursebook Contents

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OU S182 Course Description

Course Website

BBC Life of Mammals Homepage

The Mammal Society

The American Society of Mammalogists

Animal Diversity Web
(University of Michigan)

Mammal Species of the World

Discovering Mammals

Pelican Lagoon
(with link to Puggle Post)

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Study Period 1 A Winning design
How should we think of monotremes?
Reproduction in marsupials
Milk production (lactation)
Metabolism and body temperature
Thermoregulation and mammalian fur
What's special about placental mammals?

Study Period 2 The insect hunters
How insect eaters obtain their food
Adaptations linked to feeding in insect eaters
Thinking about adaptation
Temperature regulation and the consequence of size
Strategies for coping with cold and food shortage

Study Period 3 Chisellers
You are what you eat
Some principles that underpin evolutionary change
Individual lives: the concept of fitness
Different reproductive strategies

Study Period 4 Plant predators
The herbivore lifestyle
Herbivore teeth
Digesting plant material
Digestive processes
Grazers and browsers
Plant defences
Shortage of nutrients
Wildebeest migration
Living in herds

Study Period 5 The meat eaters
Introducing the Carnivora
Characteristics of the hunters
Living in groups

Study Period 6 The opportunists
The ecology of mammals
Is specialization always advantageous?
The bear necessities
Miss Piggy
The good family Procyonidae
Of rats and men
What makes a successful omnivore?

Study Period 7 Return to the water
Living in the water
The 'diving response'
The evolution of whales

Study Period 8 Life in the trees
Problems with life in the trees
Introducing the primates
Galagos, Iorises and pottos
Lemurs and their origin

Study Period 9 The social climbers
Who are the anthropoids?
How do anthropoids differ from prosimians?
Living in a society
The primate brain

Study Period 10 Food for thought
The apes and their relationship to humans
Variable structure of ape societies
Tool use and culture in ape and human societies
Who were the ancestors of Homo?
Who were the ancestors of Homo sapiens?
Modern Homo sapiens