Materials

■ hand lens or stereomicroscope

■ microscope slide of mammalian skin

■ compound light microscope

■ selection of vertebrate skulls (some mammalian, some nonmammalian)

■ field guide to mammals

Background

1. List the distinguishing characteristics of mammals.

2. Define the term endothermy.

3. Mammalian skin is characterized by cutaneous glands, such as sebaceous glands and sweat glands, that develop as ingrowths from the epidermis into the dermis.

1. Use a hand lens to examine several areas of your skin that appear to be hairless. Record your observations in your lab report.

2. Compare the amount of hair on humans with the amount on other mammals that you have seen or read about. What role does hair or fur play in endothermy? What other roles does hair (or whiskers) play in mammals?

3. Examine a slide of mammalian skin under low power. Notice the glands in the skin.

4. Identify the sebaceous glands and the sweat glands in the skin. Sweat glands are found only in mammals, but some mammals do not have them or have few of them. What mechanism for cooling might these other animals have? Which other glands are unique to mammals?

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