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Morphology and evolution of multicellular animals: new zoology textbook by Osnabrück Biology researchers

In the course of evolution, multicellular animals or "metazoa" have colonised almost all habitats on our planet. In a new textbook, the Osnabrück biologists Achim Paululat and Günter Purschke (RG Zoology) show, with the help introductory texts and almost 500 photos, how animals are structured, which organs they possess and how the species, so different at first glance, are related to each other in evolutionary terms.

The textbook is published under the title "Metazoa – Morphologie und Evolution der vielzelligen Tiere. Ein Praxisbuch zum Zoologischen Praktikum" Springer Spektrum. Biology students in Osnabrück and at many other universities can download it free of charge to their tablet or laptop via their university library.

"The book is completely new in concept and consistently focuses on large-format photographs," says Achim Paululat. "So it relies less on sketches and drawings - like almost all other textbooks on the subject."

Two Roman snails are mating. Who is the female, who the male? Both animals have a love dart, which they will probably use soon. Why? Are snails and octopuses related? Do snails have gills or lungs? These and many other questions are answered in the new textbook "Metazoa - Morphology and Evolution of Multicellular Animals". © Achim Paululat

A total of 12 chapters deal with different animal groups: sponges (Porifera), cnidarians, flatworms (Plathelminthes), annelids, molluscs, nematodes, arthropods, echinoderms, cephalochordates (Acrania), tunicates and the craniates/ vertebrates. "From the most important animal groups, selected species are presented that represent the respective animal group as well as possible," says Paululat. "This guarantees that the essential principles underlying the functional anatomy of an animal can be learned in an evolutionary context."

„Metazoa" is designed as a practical book to accompany students in the basic practical course in zoology, which is usually offered in one form or another in biology studies. All preparation steps, the external appearance, the arrangement of tissues and organs are shown in over 450 photos, some of them in large format, thus facilitating learning. In addition, each chapter contains an introductory and compact text that conveys the most important features of the animal groups and the evolutionary relationships. The English-language international edition of "Metazoa" is already in the works and will also be published by Springer Spektrum.

Metazoa - Morphologie und Evolution der vielzelligen Tiere. Ein Praxisbuch zum Zoologischen Praktikum, Springer Spektrum Verlag, 2023.