The characteristics of the major groups of animals, their ancestry, history and their relationship to one another. The processes of speciation, adaptive radiation and extinction responsible for diversity. Methods for constructing phylogenies, for comparing phenotypes, and for estimating and analyzing diversity.
Topics covered will include:
Animal origins and evolutionary history. Basic features of animal body plans. The early radiation of animals. Sponges. Diploblastic animals: hydroids, jellyfish, corals. Bilaterian animals and the evolution of locomotion and burrowing. The lophotrochozoan protostomes: annelids and mollusks. The ecdysozoan protostomes: arthropods and nematodes. The deuterostomes: echinoderms and vertebrates. The marine and terrestrial radiations of vertebrates. Tetrapods. Human diversity.