Free course

Studying mammals: A winning design

Free statement of participation on completion
Studying mammals: A winning design

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.

NOTE: The Studying mammals series is gradually being updated and replaced. You can study an improved freestanding version of this course, titled Introducing mammals, here:

https://www.open.edu/openlearn/nature-environment/introducing-mammals/content-section-0

Course learning outcomes

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.

First Published: 09/08/2012

Updated: 07/05/2019