Animal anatomy and physiology links

Animal Anatomy and Physiology


Animations are often essential for understanding the flow and interactions of physiological processes. Most animations are one to two minutes and include audio instruction. The animation links given below can assist USA Biology Olympiad participants and instructors as they prepare for the competition.


Biology: 7th edition, Campbell and Reese

Students can have access to: or www.campbellbiology.comif teachers will provide the access code for the book. This site contains animations, links, activities and primarily quizzes. Registration is required. The links below do not require registration.

Anatomy and Physiology Study Partner from McGraw Hill.

This site contains excellent animations for the basics of animal physiology.

The level is AP or first year undergraduate. Supplements the Campbell disk.

The site is divided into 6 sections. You must click on the heading and then topics to return to the main menu.

Levels of Organization

Support and Movement

Integration and Coordination


Absorption and Secretion

Reproduction and Development

The animations are highly recommended. Most include voice over for explanation. Recommended animations are any that are needed to help the student move from static charts to dynamic, visual perception. A student can review the heart beating next to the graph of the cardiac cycle, inspiration and expiration showing changes in pressure in conjunction with muscle movements, urine concentration with the countercurrent mechanism, sound waves being transduced into neuronal activity in the ear and so forth. A student can review any animation that will help them integrate the physiological pathway.

The Virtual Body offers very introductory information.

Cell Cyclin Game

Fun for the end of the day!!!!

Gastrointestinal and nutritional

McGraw Hill: Three Phases of Gastric Secretion from chapter 43

This is hosted by the Johns Hopkins Gastroenterology and Hepatology Resource Center. To the left is the Digestive Disease Library with numerous animations. Knowledge of diseases are NOT required for USABO, however, the animations contrasting normal with abnormal may interest may biology students.

Excitable Tissue: Muscle

Sarcomere contraction:

From McGraw Hill textbook; Biology, chapter 42

Sliding filament

Muscle Sense, Tendon Organs, spindles, proprioception

Synaptic and Junctional Transmission

Resting Membrane Potential:

Action Potential:


Reflex Arcs:



Sense Organs


McGraw Hill animation from chapter 46 of Biology

Go to the ear tutorial, 45.1


Go to the eye tutorial, 45.2

Taste, Smell, Touch

For Smell:

Touch receptors:


Go to Sort Animation list, scroll to Medical Specialty, click on cardiology. The Animation List below will now show the cardiology animation available. Click on Cardiac Conduction System. Look below on the right and you will see a brief explanation of that module. Click on begin animation.


Renal Function

Countercurrent theory of urine concentration

Animal Form and Function


Introductory undergraduate lectures in anatomy and physiology – Podcast Lectures

Each lecture is approximately 75 minutes. This is not required but the lectures are exceptionally well done for those interested. Current lectures have links to the outline and blackboard. Additional advanced lectures, and lectures from previous years are available. Students may be interested in listening to a single topic. It should be noted that the lectures are by date, not subject. You need to listen to the first few minutes to determine the topic.

The physiology tutorials are from Chapter 41 to Chapter 52. The student may use any of these when studying.   Each chapter has one or two tutorials, each about 2 minutes. Each tutorial has four elements: an introduction that describes the topic to be illustrated and puts it into a broader context, a detailed animation that clearly illustrates the topic (there are a few tutorials that include simulations or other types of content, rather than animations), a conclusion that summarizes what you should have learned from the animation, and a quiz on the topic covered.

Basic Principles of Animal Form and Function


Appears simplistic but tell the students to work with Ben throughout his bad day. An excellent way to apply disparate facts to a single system.

This deals with the thermodynamics that regulate homeostasis.

Animal Nutrition and Digestion

Insulin and glucose regulation

Freeman’s book is considered a non-major undergraduate book while Campbell is considered the book for biology majors. However, Freeman has some nice visuals.

General Gastrointestinal site from Australia.

See “Your Digestive System.”

Under “Gastrointestinal diseases” review Helicobacter pylori. This research won the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology in 2005 and is specifically mentioned in Campbell.

Circulation and Gas Exchange

The heart

Virtual Cardiology Lab

Go to BioInteractive: Click on Virtual Labs (top of page) and scroll to the Cardiology Lab. This is an excellent lab. It is far more detailed than anything asked by USABO or IBO. However, for an advanced student or a teacher seeking to provide enrichment on the heart, it is simply excellent. The first stethoscope portion is most applicable to USABO.   The virtual lab makes the student/teacher a medical intern and provides the opportunity to actually listen and see auscultation, MRI, echocardiogram etc. Furthermore, it allows the student/teacher to practice listening and critical thinking skills. For someone considering a medical career it is a very enjoyable way of learning the basics of cardiac function.


Summary of all you need to know on a single webpage.

The links at the bottom either add nothing or do not function.,6452,500755-,00.html

Very basic visuals that show how the lungs function.

Freeman’s book is considered a non-major undergraduate book while Campbell is considered the book for biology majors.

The Immune System

Solid overview that matches what is in Campbell.

Good set of basic immunology questions.

Introduction to antibodies. Basic introduction to ELISA.

The National Cancer Institute has put together 38 slides with explanations about the immune system. Highly recommended for teachers or for individual study. Excellent graphics and it can be downloaded as a full PowerPoint presentation for the classroom. Adobe handouts are also available ( The slides are not locked so an instructor may mix and match. The slides range from a basic explanation of antigen to genetic therapy.

A very brief introduction to the virus. While not specifically listed on IBO guidelines, students should know the difference between eukaryotic, prokaryotic and viral structure and genomic arrangement. excellent introduction to viral structure.

Osmoregulation and Excretion

The opening section is excellent. It summarizes pages of words in 3 minutes. Ignore the second part on diuretics.

Hormones and the Endocrine System Accurate walkthrough of each gland. It repeats most of Campbell. Basic resource if you have a specific question. Easy to read and understand.

The Endocrine System related to the Nervous System: Taken from This is enough detail for students. The nervous and endocrine systems are related in three main areas, structure, chemical, and function. The endocrine and nervous system work parallel with each other and in conjunction function in maintaining homeostasis, development and reproduction. Both systems are the communication links of the body and aid the body’s life systems to function correctly and in relation to each other.

Structurally many of the endocrine systems glands and tissues are rooted in the nervous system, Such glands as the hypothalamus and posterior pituitary are examples of nerve tissues that influence the function of a gland and it’s secretion of hormones. Not only does the hypothalamus secrete hormones into the bloodstream, but it regulates the release of hormones in the posterior pituitary gland. Those that are not made of nervous tissue once were. The adrenal medulla is derived from the same cells that produce certain ganglia.

Chemically both the endocrine and nervous system function in communication by means of the same transmitters but use them in different ways. Hormones are utilized by both systems in signaling an example of this can be seen in the use of Norepinephrine. Norepinephrine functions as a neurotransmitter in the nervous system and as an adrenal hormone in the endocrine system.

Functionally the nervous and endocrine system work hand in hand acting in communicating and driving hormonal changes. They work in maintaining homeostasis and respond to changes inside and outside the body. Besides functioning in similar manners they work in conjunction. An example of this can be seen in a mothers release of milk. When a baby sucks the nipple of its mother, sensory cells in the nipple sends signals to the hypothalamus, which then responds by releasing Oxytocin from the posterior pituitary. The Oxytocin is released into the bloodstream where it moves to its’ target cell, a mammary gland. The mammary gland then responds to the hormones signal by releasing milk through the nipple. Besides working in conjunction with each other, both systems affect one another. The adrenal medulla is under control the control of nerve cells, but the nervous systems development is under the control of the endocrine system.

Animal Reproduction


Animal Development


Nervous System

G-protein linked receptors

Review the Trimeric G Protein Cycle

Formation of Adenylate Cyclase

Maintenance of Membrane Potential,6452,500823-,00.html

7 slides with narration that do an excellent job of explaining the basics.

Sensory and Motor Mechanisms


Basic readings for an educated public. About the level of Scientific American. Well written with good vocabulary links. Click on the sense organ of interest.


Basic overview from the Online textbook: Biology, by Kimball

Companion to the taste site below. Again, this is suitable for a teacher or for a student doing research for a project. For the USABO student it more detailed than required, but gives an excellent overview.

Taste Receptors

Campbell has only a page on Taste. The same material is covered at this site but in a little more detail and therefore may be better understood.

The same type of website as above, only much more detailed. Suitable for a teacher preparing a class. Not required for the USABO student.


Complete summary.

Complex Optical illusions

Simple optical illusions


From Biology, by Kimball. A popular H.S. text.

Hearing and equilibrium


Basic facts

Invertebrate Physiology, Anatomy and Systematics   University of Nebraska at Lincoln Entomology Department is an excellent resource of pictures, facts and links.

  1. Charts, Diagrams and Drawings provide dissection guides.
  2. Insects and their Relatives photos can be great practice if the students are interested in entomology. In addition, teachers may use the photos with any class. A great review of insects and leaves.
  3. K-!2 Resources: See the Marine Insects for some fascinating facts and ideas.

Microbiology Virtual Bacterial Identification Lab


Provided by


General Information


Digestion and Nutrition

Digestive Tract (Includes liver, gall bladder, and pancreas)










  • Blood Components: Description of major components of blood.
  • Blood: Basic description of components and information about blood donations with links and diagrams provided by American Red Cross.
  • Platelets: Description of structure and function of platelets and associated disorders.







Regulation (neural and hormonal)

Nervous System

General Information

Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)

Central Nervous System (CNS)

Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)


Sense organs

Endocrine System

General Information

  • Pituitary: YouTube overview of the pituitary gland and how it works.
  • Pituitary Gland Adam: Animation of the function of the pituitary gland.
  • Thyroid gland: NCBI detailed information on the thyroid gland anatomy, function, hormone actions, clinical cases and more.

  • Islets of Langerhans: Complete information on form, function, and related health issues.
  • Adrenal medulla: Complete informatinon on form function, and related health issues.
  • General Description of the adrenal glands: Explanation of glucocorticoids, which help you deal with long-term stress, and androgens, which influence male sexual characteristics secreted by the adrenal cortex.

  • Ovaries: Overview of ovary form and function.
  • Testes: Overview of testes form and function.

Reproduction and Development

General Resources

Structure and function of male and female reproductive systems

Ovulation and menstrual cycle


Developmental Slides

Formation of ectoderm, mesoderm, endoderm


General Resources