Biology is the study of life. As we’ve learned, this field covers a broad scope of subjects. As you progress through this course, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. Let’s think back to the articles Cristina encountered at the beginning of this module: how could a knowledge of biological principle help with her understanding of each article?
Think about It
Cristina read an article about some of the world’s weirdest animals. What biological principle would help her understand why these animals have the features they do?
[reveal-answer q=”775039″]See Our Thoughts[/reveal-answer]
[hidden-answer a=”775039″]By learning about evolution and natural selection, Cristina could begin to see the different evolutionary reasons behind the extreme features some animals have. For example, the aye-aye, a mammal native to Madagascar, has evolved to have an extra long middle finger, which it can use to dig grubs out of trees. Throughout the course we’ll learn about different organisms and how their unique features allow them to survive and thrive in different environments.
Cristina also found an article about a “new” organ called the mesentery. How could scientists just now be discovering a new organ?
[reveal-answer q=”781328″]See Our Thoughts[/reveal-answer]
[hidden-answer a=”781328″]While our scientific understanding is much broader than it once was, our understanding is always expanding—we are always learning more things.
Clarifications of the mesenteric anatomy have facilitated a clearer understanding of diseases involving the mesentery—which include malrotation and Crohn’s disease (CD). In CD, the mesentery is frequently thickened, rendering haemostasis challenging. Some authors say that CD is mainly a mesenteric disorder that secondarily affects the GIT and systemic circulation.
As scientists researched the mesentery more and more, they found that it should be reclassified as an organ. As we will see in the chapter “Body Systems,” having a better understanding of bodies can dramatically improve our ability to detect and prevent illness.[/hidden-answer]
Contributors and Attributions
- Putting It Together: Introduction to Biology. Authored by: Shelli Carter and Lumen Learning. Provided by: Lumen Learning. License: CC BY: Attribution