F o r m & F u n c T i o N. What is a skeleton?. A skeleton consists of the bones that make up the framework of a body. Exercise directions. In this exercise, we will be looking at the form and function of different skeletons and how they suit the lifestyle of those animals.
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A skeleton consists of the bones that make up the framework of a body.
In this exercise, we will be looking at the form and function of different skeletons and how they suit the lifestyle of those animals.
Let’s try a few examples.
Take a few minutes to make some observations about the form of this animal.
For example, you might say….
Short arms with finger-like appendages
Long, thick-boned tail that reaches to the ground
Elongated rear limbs with shorter bones connecting them to the pelvis.
To make an inference means to draw conclusions from your observations.
What are some functions of these structures??
What are the arms used for?
Why is the tail so long and sturdy?
How might long, skinny legs help it move?
Why are the feet so large?
Click on a part of the animal to find out
Can you identify a structure that serves as an adaptation for a kangaroo?
Click on parts of each animal to learn about their adaptations.
How do the similar structures of these two animals serve as different adaptations to their environments?
Click on a part of the animal to learn about these adaptations..
How do these structures have similar and different adaptations?
In this next example, take note of any homologous structures that could support an ancestral link between these two animals.
- Large skull with protruding fangs.
- Prominent front and rear claws.
- Broad shoulder blades
- Dense forelimbs
- Long tail
between cats and lions?
Analogous structures are two structures with the same function but no evolutionary link.
Turtles and armadillos are unrelated species that share similar characteristics. Can you identify a few analogous structures between these two animals?
Do they appear to be related or unrelated?
Hard, outer covering
Long, bony tail
Sharp front claws
Long tail that drags behind the animal
Long, tapered snout
Short, forelimbs with claws
Long forelimbs and hind legs, relatively similar in length and size.
Based on your observations, are these animals related or unrelated? Or in other words, do they have homologous or analogous structures?
All three animals are classified in the order “Xenarthra” because they all lack incisors or canines and have 2-3 predominate claws. These common structures are known as homologous structures.
A Kangaroo’s Tail is long and muscular, extending all the way down to the ground. It serves as a sturdy prop while the kangaroo sits or stands. When the kangaroo fights, sometimes the only limb touching the ground is the tail!
??Can you think of any human inventions that may resemble a kangaroo tail in both form and function?
A Kangaroo’s Forelimbs are thin and short and help the animal “hop” forward.
Compare the kangaroo’s forelimbs to the arms of a runner. How are they similar and how are they different in both form and function?
The Kangaroo’s hind legs have tendons that act like rubber bands, propelling the animal forward in quick, strong leaps.
It’s large feet help the animal sit and balance, and are also a very powerful defense mechanism. No one wants to experience the kick of a kangaroo!T
Because its legs are so long, a walking giraffe moves both legs on a side at almost the same time. It can gallop at up to 56 km/h
Like many animals, a giraffe’s tails function as fly swatters. The zebra to the right demonstrates with his tail, which has a similar structure to the giraffe’s tail.
Their mouths are designed to pick leaves from trees and have flat teeth to crush the vegetation. Therefore, their feeding structures are adapted to their feeding habits.
Giraffes tend to feed on the leaves from tall trees where they experience less competition from other herbivores. To reach those leaves, they need long necks.
A flamingo’s long neck helps it extend down into the water to feed. It is also used to stabilize the bird during flight.
Flamingos are capable of flying distances up to 300 miles in one night. They typically extend their necks forward and their legs behind them during flight and reach speeds of up to 30mph.
Flamingos have long legs that allow them to wade into deeper waters than their competitors. Their webbed feet help them to stabilize themselves in the mud.
Flamingos have a unique feeding mechanism whereby they hold their heads upside down and filter algae, seeds, and marine invertebrates such as shrimp and mollusks from the water through their beaks.
Butterfly wings and bat wings resemble each other in form and function, but there is no ancestral link between the two.
An iguana has four feet with five digits on each. These claws are used mainly for climbing seeing as the iguana’s main habitat is in trees.
The iguana’s tail has two functions. First, as a means of balance during climbing. Second, as a means of defense against predators. It can whip and distract predators and sometimes, may disconnect from the iguana, but don’t worry; its grows back!
Iguana’s have spines starting at the back of their head and continuing down their back which make it more difficult for predators to swallow them. Their flat mouths crush vegetation and fruit which are the main sources of nutrition for these reptiles.
A Gila monster’s short, fat tail serves as a storage place for fat. When the animal is low on food sources, it uses the fat from its tail as a source of energy.
The Gila monster has a large head with a strong lower jaw, which is where the animal stores its venom. One reason why the head sits low is so the animal may lick the ground which is how it picks up the scents of its prey.
The Gila monster’s short legs and short claws are ideal for digging burrows, digging for eggs and food, and climbing.