Cat Tutorial Background

In 1997, a major grant from The Howard Hughes Medical Institute provided funds that allowed Kenyon College to equip the introductory biology laboratories with networked computers. This inspired me to think about alternate ways to facilitate learning and to help students more fully appreciate the relationship between structure and function. In my 18 years of teaching in the anatomy laboratory, I have discovered that students often fail to adequately visualize relationships that exist between skeletal elements and the muscles that move them. My initial goal was to provide a tool that might help them understand the importance of these relationships. I have tried to use the digital camera to provide a unique focus that may help clarify the structural and functional relationships that exist between muscles and bones. This approach should help students understand spatial relationships as well as develop the ability to extrapolate into unstudied organisms.

This tutorial is not intended to be a exhaustive study of cat anatomy, but rather to reflect the manner in which it is taught at Kenyon College. Students take one 2 hour laboratory practical over the muscle/skeletal system and a group oral exam over internal organs. In this tutorial the section on internal organs has been divided into four groups. This was done to supplement the approach used in the laboratory. All students begin by doing a quick dissection of the internal organs. They are then assigned to one of four groups that study one or more systems extensively. The knowledge acquired by each student is combined with that of three other students during an oral examination/presentation that requires them to know the structures associated with their system, trace materials through their system, and explain the basic physiology of their system. The three questions used in this oral exam format require the students who have specialized in different systems to work together to create an integrated answer. Responses to this method of examination have been extremely positive.

How to use this tutorial

This tutorial is designed so that there are a variety of pathways that can be followed from the welcome page. This allows students to quickly access information that they want to review. It most cases attempts have been made to allow students to easily move forward and backward between pages. A secondary welcome page for the skull allows students to select anterior, lateral or posterior views. An "Internal organs" link leads to a secondary welcome page that allows students to move directly to the organ system they want to review. A back button (Return to tutorial) that leads to the primary welcome page is provided at the end of each page.

Bold colored text is used to highlight structures that are indicated by arrows of matching color. In figures numbers can have one of two purposes. They either identify a structure referred to in the text or they are active links that allow students to test their knowledge. If a hand occurs when the cursor is placed over a number it is an active link. Clicking on the number will activate that link.

Terminology is consistent with that found in Vertebrates a Laboratory Text 2nd ed, Editors Norman K. Wessells and Elizabeth M. Center, William Kaufmann, Inc.

I would like to thank all the students I have had the pleasure of working with in the anatomy laboratory. Their curiosity and enthusiasm for learning encouraged me to continually strive for new ways to enhance their understanding. This tutorial is the product of that attempt.

The site was designed by P.A. Heithaus, a Visiting Instructor of Biology at Kenyon College with editorial assistance provided by D.S. Heithaus '99', who was supported under a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. All photos presented here were taken by P.A. Heithaus using a Sony DKC-ID1 digital camera with a 12x zoom, that was purchased with funds from a grant to the Brown Family Environmental Center (formerly the Kenyon Center for Environmental Study) from the Rupp Foundation. Images were edited in Photoshop 5.0 and digitally optimized for web presentation. Full resolution originals can be obtained by contacting the author.

Interesting Anatomy Links

HHMI's interactive web, this site has some very interesting interactive videos of the human heart.

Guided tour of the Visible Human, this site provides an introduction to anatomy based on sections through the body and is supported by the Visible Human Project of the National Library of Medicine. It makes use of animation's to illustrate how the sections were made and to help you become oriented. Begin by following the link to cross-sectional anatomy.

The heart, this is a very thorough exploration of the heart with some excellent photos of internal anatomy

The human embryo, this site has excellent pictures of developing human embryos as well as sectional images through the embryo.

Human muscles, this site has a listing of all the muscles of the human body, their origins, insertions, and functions.

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Comments to: Pat Heithaus, at
Last edited: 8-13-99

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