Spring 2024

Form and Function

Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-264


Ethan D. Clotfelter (Section 01)


Functional morphology is the study of how organisms work. It integrates comparative anatomy and biomechanics in an ecological and evolutionary framework. The course begins with basic principles of evolutionary theory and biomechanics, before turning to the fundamental importance of body size and metabolism in governing nearly all aspects of animal biology. We then focus on how animals feed and move (running, jumping, swimming, climbing, gliding, and flying) using examples of both living and extinct species. Finally, we touch on examples of human innovation inspired by animal morphology. The course uses a combination of lectures, demonstrations, and discussions of articles from the primary literature. Three hours of lecture/discussion per week.

Requisite: Students registering for BIOL 264 must have taken BIOL 181.  Not open to first-year students. Limited to 24 students. Spring semester. Professor Clotfelter.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to BIOL majors, and based on class year.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Readings from primary scientific literature, oral presentations, group work, independent research, in-class quizzes or exams, demonstrations and other practical hands-on activities

BIOL 264 - LEC

Section 01
M 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM SCCE A019
W 12:30 PM - 1:50 PM SCCE A019


Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2020, Spring 2022, Spring 2025