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Chapter 20: Mammals and Animal Behavior

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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Mammals and Animal Behavior


Lesson 20.1: Mammalian Traits

20.1.1 Characteristics of Mammals

20.1.2 Structure and Function in Mammals

  • How Mammals Stay Warm
  • How Mammals Stay Cool
  • Eating and Digesting Food
  • Lungs and Heart of Mammals
  • The Mammalian Brain
  • Intelligence of Mammals
  • Social Living in Mammals
  • Locomotion in Mammals

Lesson 20.2: Reproduction in Mammals

20.2.1 Therian Mammals

20.2.2 Placental Mammals

  • The Placenta
  • Pros and Cons of Placental Reproduction

20.2.3 Marsupials

  • The Marsupial Embryo
  • Pros and Cons of Marsupial Reproduction
  • KQED: The North American Marsupial: The Opossum

20.2.4 Monotremes

  • Eggs and Lactation in Monotremes
  • Pros and Cons of Monotreme Reproduction

Lesson 20.3: Evolution and Classification of Mammals

20.3.1 Mammalian Ancestors

  • Pelycosaurs
  • Therapsids
  • Cynodonts

20.3.2 Evolution of Early Mammals

  • Evolution of Monotremes
  • Evolution of Marsupials
  • Evolution of Placental Mammals

20.3.3 Evolution of Modern Mammals

  • Traditional View
  • View from the Mammalian Supertree

20.3.4 Classification of Placental Mammals

  • Traditional Classification
  • Phylogenetic Classification

Lesson 20.4: Overview of Animal Behavior

20.4.1 Studying Animal Behavior

20.4.2 Evolution of Animal Behavior

  • Nature vs. Nurture
  • How Behaviors Evolve

20.4.3 Innate Behavior

  • Significance of Innate Behavior
  • Intelligence and Innate Behavior

20.4.4 Learned Behavior

20.4.5 Types of Animal Behavior

  • Social Behavior and Cooperation
  • Communication
  • Cyclic Behaviors
  • KQED: Flyways: The Migratory Routes of Birds
  • Aggression
  • Competition
  • Mating and Courtship
  • Parental Care

Pacing the Lessons

Use the Class Periods per Lesson table below as a guide for the time required to teach the lessons of this chapter.

Lesson Number of Class Periods
20.1 Mammalian Traits 2.0
20.2 Reproduction in Mammals 1.0
20.3 Evolution and Classification of Mammals 1.5
20.4 Overview of Animal Behavior 2.0
  • Class periods are assumed to be 60 minutes long.

Online Resources

See the following Web sites for appropriate laboratory activities:

1. In this lab, students will create a model of the four-chambered mammalian heart and simulate the heart’s pumping action. (Lesson 20.1)

2. This lab requires students to classify mammals in their correct orders by comparing their traits. (Lesson 20.3)

3. Students can investigate behavioral responses to stimuli in insects using materials at either of the two URLs below. (Lesson 20.4)

4. You can choose from several online animal behavior labs at this Web site. Topics range from constructing ethograms to studying the human behavior of weight lifting. (Lesson 20.4)

These Web sites may also be helpful:

1. The Web sites below are searchable online field guides that you and your students can use to find descriptions and photographs of mammals. They are good sources of examples when you teach this chapter.

2. This American Museum of Natural History online exhibit provides virtual tours, videos, interactive activities, timelines, and articles on living and extinct mammals. It focuses on mammalian adaptations and evolution, and includes both student and teacher pages.

3. This Web site suggests a variety of videos, activities, and discussion topics that relate to animal behavior.

4. Students can follow the field research of zoo scientists studying applied animal behavior by reading their online field diaries. The Web site also offers articles, videos, and activities.

5. This issue of the National Science Teachers Association monthly newsletter focuses on animal behavior. It contains articles and links that are useful for both teachers and students.

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