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dc.contributor.authorDanos, Nicole
dc.contributor.authorStaab, Katie Lynn
dc.contributor.authorWhitenack, Lisa B.
dc.identifier.citationNicole Danos, Katie Lynn Staab, Lisa B Whitenack, The Core Concepts, Competencies, and Grand Challenges of Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Morphology, Integrative Organismal Biology, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2022, obac019,
dc.description.abstractCore concepts offer coherence to the discourse of a scientific discipline and facilitate teaching by identifying large unifying themes that can be tailored to the level of the class and expertise of the instructor. This approach to teaching has been shown to encourage deeper learning that can be integrated across subdisciplines of biology and has been adopted by several other biology subdisciplines. However, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, although one of the oldest biological areas of study, has not had its core concepts identified. Here, we present five core concepts and seven competencies (skills) for Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy that came out of an iterative process of engagement with the broader community of vertebrate morphologists over a 3-year period. The core concepts are (A) evolution, (B) structure and function, (C) morphological development, (D) integration, and (E) human anatomy is the result of vertebrate evolution. The core competencies students should gain from the study of comparative vertebrate anatomy are (F) tree thinking, (G) observation, (H) dissection of specimens, (I) depiction of anatomy, (J) appreciation of the importance of natural history collections, (K) science communication, and (L) data integration. We offer a succinct description of each core concept and competency, examples of learning outcomes that could be used to assess teaching effectiveness, and examples of relevant resources for both instructors and students. Additionally, we pose a grand challenge to the community, arguing that the field of Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy needs to acknowledge racism, androcentrism, homophobia, genocide, slavery, and other influences in its history and address their lingering effects in order to move forward as a thriving discipline that is inclusive of all students and scientists and continues to generate unbiased knowledge for the betterment of humanity. Despite the rigorous process used to compile these core concepts and competencies, we anticipate that they will serve as a framework for an ongoing conversation that ensures Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy remains a relevant field in discovery, innovation, and training of future generations of scientists.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipNSF(National Science Foundation (NSF)); SICB; Gans; Company of Biologists EA3 grant; Allegheny; McDaniel faculty development granten_US
dc.publisherOxford Univ Pressen_US
dc.relation.ispartofIntegrative Organismal Biologyen_US
dc.rights© The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.en_US
dc.subjectComparative Vertebrate Anatomy,en_US
dc.titleThe Core Concepts, Competencies, and Grand Challenges of Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy and Morphologyen_US
dc.description.versionPublished articleen_US
dc.contributor.avlauthorWhitenack, Lisa B.

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