Free course

Studying mammals: A winning design

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

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

Skip Rate and Review

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371