How to Build an Animal (OEB 58)
Fall 2017
Undergraduate course
Co-taught with Mansi Srivastava
Tues,Thurs, 10:00-11:30pm


Throughout the course, we consider 10 prominent features of animal anatomy (e.g. eyes, neurons, gonads); study their variation in form and function; and how they are made during embryonic development.


Course instruction is a modified version of a ‘flipped classroom’, where we provide one lecture, follow it by a hands-on activity (e.g. dissecting a cow eye; measuring cockroach neuron activity; spawning sea urchins), and finish with a section that discusses a prominent paper from the primary literature.


Vertebrate Evolution (OEB 126)
Spring 2019
Undergraduate course
Tues,Thurs, 11:30-1:00pm


This course provides a comprehensive survey of the origin and evolution of vertebrates through an examination of the fossil record. A primary focus will be on major events in Earth’s evolutionary history, with an emphasis on anatomical and physiological transformations in fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.


Includes a Lab component and a spring recess Fossil Dig which gives students hands-on experience with fossil identification.


Recommended prep:
OEB 58, LifeSci 2, and/or one other whole animal biology courses (e.g. OEB 51, OEB 101, OEB 130, OEB 167, OEB 190)

PEFO Spring 2017
                  Petrified Forest Spring 2016                                                      Petrified Forest Spring 2017


What makes a....? (OEB 217)

A student directed course that explores the origin and evolution of a particular group of animals* through a mixture of literature discussions, cadaveric dissection and fossil observation. Discussion topics will be broad and far reaching, including such things as: evolutionary dynamics, ecomorphology, and feeding and locomotor performance. Alongside in class discussions, students will participate in dissecting cadaveric material with the aim to build hands-on musculoskeletal knowledge.


*The taxon of focus changes from year to year. The next time this course is offered the taxon will be Rodents and will include the dissection of a capybara - the largest living rodent!


Please contact Prof. Pierce for availability.


Current year:

What makes a RODENT?
Spring 2017, Mon, 3:00-5:00pm
Included dissecting a capybara


Prior years:

What makes a CAT?
Fall 2016, Mon, 3:00-5:00pm
Included dissecting a"big cat"



Advanced Vertebrate Anatomy (OEB 323)

Graduate seminar; please contact Prof. Pierce for availability.