Vertebrate Zoology SPECIAL OFFER

Special Offer - Reduced Course Fee in our Vertebrate Zoology Course. If you are serious about understanding and identifying animals (in particular mammals), this is a course for you.

Course Code: BEN104
Fee Code: SOS3
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Subsidised course
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Study Zoology

  • Learn about animal taxonomy and biology
  • Work with animals or simply pursue a passion
  • Foundation to work in farming, wildlife, veterinary or pet care industries.
  • Self paced 100 hour course with personal tutoring from professional, qualified animal scientists

ACS Student Comment: I am thoroughly enjoying the Vertebrate Zoology course with ACS. Dr. Browne has been a wonderful tutor and has given clear, concise and constructive feedback on each of the assignments I have submitted. The structure of the course allows you to independently research topics guided by module notes, set tasks and assignment questions. The more you put into this course the more you take away. I love the suggestions of where and how to do the set tasks. Dissecting a grey mullet for Assignment 2 was thus far the best part of the course – while it is only suggested to approach in this manner you should consider making it a requirement of the module. I was able to coordinate with a local fisherman in association with a fish monger - they happily caught and presented me with a beautiful specimen. After dissection it made a great meal for my four legged friends (Nothing wasted and absolutely ethical! :). The hands-on approach enabled me to get a very comprehensive understanding of the anatomy of a fish. The gizzard of the grey mullet was a bonus and had I not dissected - I would not have been able to fully appreciate the complex digestive system of this omnivorous fish. Today I’m off to the Eagles Flying raptor research center to meet with the biologist who runs the center – he’s allowing me to spend the day observing barn owls for my current module. Yet, another brilliant experience thanks to my enrolment at ACS. Jessica, Vertebrate Zoology course.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Vertebrate Taxonomy and Diversity Taxonomic classifications (Kingdom, Phylum, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species).
    • Morphology and Evolution
    • Environmental and Genetic Influences
    • Speciation
    • Diversification
    • Convergence
    • Diet
    • Habits
    • Distribution
    • Terminology
  2. Fishes Fish Diversity (major groups):
    • Class Agnatha (jawless fishes)
    • Class Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fishes) and
    • Class Osteichthyes (bony fishes).
  3. Ectotherms - Amphibians and Reptiles:
    • Definitions, Endothermy, Ectotermic, Tetrapods
    • Class Amphibia
    • Order Anura (Salientia) Frogs and Toads, Salamanders and Newts
    • Order Apoda (Gymnophiona) Caecilians
    • Class Reptilia: Reptiles (turtles, lizards, snakes, crocodiles and the extinct Dinosauria)
    • Order Rhynchocephalia - Tuatara
    • Order Chelonia (Testudines) - Turtles, tortoises
    • Order Crocodilia - Crocodilians
    • Order Squamata - Lizards and Snakes
  4. Birds -Physiology (Structure) and Anatomy, Feathers, Colour, Legs, Skeletal structure, Muscles, Senses, Behaviour (Flight, Diving, etc), Egg formation, Hatching,
    • Bird Taxonomy
    • Ratitae (flightless) birds
    • Carinatea (flying birds)
    • Water Birds (eg. Grebes, divers, Ducks, geese and swans, Storks, flamingoes and herons, pelicans, gannets and cormorants,)
    • Owls, Eagles, falcons and hawks
    • Chickens, turkeys, game birds and mount birds
    • Rails, coots and cranes,
    • Pigeons and sand grouse,
    • Gulls, auks and plovers,
    • Parrots, parakeets, Hummingbirds, swifts, Woodpeckers, toucans, Kingfishers, bee-eaters and hornbills, Trogonos, quetzals, plumed birds
    • Perching birds such as sparrows, starlings, swallows (Passeriformes),
    • Diving birds, loons, Cuckoos, coucals Nighthawks, whippoorwills, Mousebirds, etc.
  5. Mammals (Mammalia)
    • Overview - Taxonomy
    • Sub class Prototheria (egg laying animals) - echidna and platypus
    • Sub class Metatheria (Marsupials) eg. koala, kangaroo and opossum
    • Sub class Eutheria (Placental masmmals -these include such diverse forms as whales, elephants, shrews, and armadillos, dogs, cats, sheep, cattle and horses. Humans, of course, are also placental mammals).
  6. Marsupials -Subclass Theria
    • kangaroos
    • koalas
    • wombats
    • bandicoots
    • opossums
    • phalangers, etc
    • Marsupials Physiology and locomotion, Reproduction
  7. Grandorders Glires and Insectivora
    • Rodents
    • Rabbits
    • Pikas
    • Hedgehogs
    • Moles
    • Shrews and Tenrecs
    • Taxonomy, structure, Adaptations.
  8. Carnivores
    • dogs
    • wolves
    • bears
    • racoons
    • cats
    • weasels
    • hyenas
    • seals, sea lions and walruses
    • Taxonomy, Physiology, Adaptations,
  9. Hoofed Mammals (Ungulata: Includes seven orders)
    • Order Artiodactyla. This includes: Hippopotami, Deer, Giraffe, Sheep, Cattle, Antelope, Camelids
    • Order Cetacea. This includes: Dolphins, Porpoises, Whales
    • Order Perissodactyla. This includes: Horses, Rhinoceroses, Tapirs
    • Order Tubulidentata. This includes: Ardvarks
    • Order Hyracoidea. This includes: Hyraxes (or Conies)
    • Order Proboscidea. This includes: Elephants
    • Order Sirenia. This includes: Manatees and Dugongs
  10. Primates and other Archonta. This grandorder is sub divided into four sub orders:
    • Scandentia e.g. Tree Shrews
    • Dermoptera e.g. Flying Lemurs, Colugos
    • Chiroptera. This order comprises the bats.
    • Primates (Or Order Primates and sub order Strepsirhini) e.g. humans, monkeys, apes and lemurs

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.

ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.


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This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

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More information is here

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