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Laboratory Studies in Comparative Anatomy

Nature volume 142, page 732 (22 October 1938) | Download Citation



HERE is the method of conducting the first -year course in comparative anatomy at Cornell. The student is to provide himself with a text-book, drawing materials and specified dissecting instruments. Then he is to have a set of outline plates, some filled in for use with this manual–and he is told precisely how to fill up the outlines. These are to present to the student “readily available, summarised information”. Three animals, namely, the shark, a newt (Necturus) and the cat, are chosen to supply a “structural framework” for “subsequently acquired knowledge”, the student by his careful studies to absorb “as much information as can be grasped”. The student is also indulged in “oral discussions by the laboratory instructor” and “oral and written quizzes and dissection checks”. Let us say at once that the author has carried out his ideas admirably, and the student is to draw figures of what he has learnt from his dissections on fifty-four plates. He will be an encyclopædia of facts about his three animals and presumably he will have learnt a little dissection and some elements of drawing ; his chief asset will be that he has learnt to observe and record topography with accuracy ; his memory is improved and he has acquired much information.

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