General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Mammalogy – Biology, Evolution And Diversity Of Mammals [Lectures]
Language English
Module lecturer prof. dr hab. Leszek Rychlik
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position professor
Faculty Faculty of Biology
Semester 2022/2023 (summer)
Duration 24


Duration:     12 weeks

Module aim (aims)

The objective of this course is to give/teach the students:

  1. Basic knowledge about origin & evolution, morphology, biology, diversity, ecology and behaviour of mammals.
  2. Ability to distinguish the main taxonomic groups of extant mammals.
  3. Knowledge on the mammalian adaptations (morphological, physiological, behavioural) for living in different environments and habitats.
  4. Understanding of the functions of mammals in different ecosystems.
  5. Significance of current mammal studies in the progress of biological sciences.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

  1. Basic knowledge about evolution (history and relationship between the main taxonomic groups, genetic base of evolution, role of mutations, natural selection, adaptation, divergence, convergence, extinction).
  2. Basic knowledge on vertebrate zoology (extant classes, their morphology, biology and ecology).
  3. Ability to self-reliant finding of literature in libraries and electronic sources.
  4. Sufficient skills/understanding of English language in listening, reading and writing.



Week 1:            Introduction. Mammalian characteristics. Basic information on morphology, biology and reproduction of mammals.

Week 2: Origin, evolution and classification of mammals.

Week 3: Mammal Diversity 1: survey of Monotremes & Metatherians.

Week 4: Mammal Diversity 2: survey of orders belonging to Afrotheria and Xenarthra.

Week 5: Mammal Diversity 3: survey of orders belonging to Euarchontoglires.

Week 6: Mid-term exam 1. Mammal Diversity 4a: survey of orders belonging to Laurasiatheria.

Week 7: Mammal Diversity 4b: survey of orders belonging to Laurasiatheria.

Week 8: Adaptations of mammals to semi-aquatic, aquatic, semi-fossorial, and fossorial styles of life.

Week 9: Adaptations of mammals to scansorial, arboreal and volant styles of life.

Week 10: Adaptations of mammals to cold conditions and high temperatures & scarcity of


Week 11: Synanthropisation, synurbization and domestication (mammals of farmlands and

cities). Endangered mammals and mammal conservation.

Week 12: Mid-term exam 2. Modern methods of scientific investigations on mammals.

 Advances in behavioural and ecological studies of mammals.

Week 13:         

Week 14:         

Week 15:

Reading list

  1. Feldhamer G.A., Drickamer L.C., Vessey S.H. & Merritt J.F. 2014 (or older editions). Mammalogy: adaptation, diversity, and ecology. WBC/McGraw-Hill, Boston.
  2. Vaughan T.A., Ryan J.M. & Czaplewski N.J. 2014 (or older editions). Mammalogy. Jones and Bartlett Learning, Burlington, MA, USA.
  3. McDonald D. W. (ed.) 2006. The encyclopedia of mammals. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  4. Merritt J. F. The Biology of Small Mammals. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland.
  5. Animal Diversity Web. (
  6. The Life of Mammals. 2002. BBC nature documentary series (written and presented by David Attenborough).