Skip to content

Studying mammals: A winning design

Free Course Free Course

The term mammal encompasses a huge variety of animals, including humans. But what makes a mammal a mammal? This free course, Studying mammals: A winning design, explores some of the features, such as reproduction, lactation and thermoregulation methods, that mammals have in common. It is the first in a series of ten Studying mammals courses.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • explain the distinctive biological features of monotremes
  • distinguish contrasting modes of reproduction in monotremes, marsupials and placental mammals
  • describe the cellular basis of lactation and explain the benefits of an early diet of milk
  • explain the significance of mammalian metabolic rate
  • explain how and why the thermogenic response differs among species.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 10 hours
  • Updated Wednesday 16th March 2016
  • Introductory level
  • Posted under Natural History
Share on Google Plus Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit View article Comments

Study this free course

Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!

Studying mammals: A winning design


Unit image

Mammals come in a bewildering variety of shapes and sizes and yet all of the 4700 or so species have some characteristics in common. Indeed, it's the existence of these common features that justifies the inclusion of all such diverse types within the single taxonomic group (or class) called the Mammalia.

This is the first in a series of units about studying mammals. To get the most from these units, you will need access to a copy of The Life of Mammals (2002) by David Attenborough, BBC Books (ISBN 0563534230), and The Life of Mammals (2002) on DVD, which contains the associated series of ten BBC TV programmes. You should begin each course by watching the relevant TV programme on the DVD and reading the corresponding chapter in The Life of Mammals. You will be asked to rewatch specific sequences from the programme as you work through the course.

This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 1 study in Environment & Development [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]

Tags, Ratings and Social Bookmarking


Your rating None. Average rating 5 out of 5, based on 1 rating