Period 6 Morphology

Morphology is defined as a branch of biology that deals with the structure of organisms. This idea suggests that there are structural patterns in all living beings. The morphologist Richard Owen advanced the idea of homologues, which are similar traits that appear in members of different species. For example, humans, apes, cats, lizards and turtles all have a similar five-digit hand structure.

Another idea of morphology is that each species has evolved specialized structures to suit it for its role in nature. This idea, also researched by Owen, explains why certain organisms have such distinct characteristics. For example, hummingbirds have long, narrow beaks to enable them to easily reach the nectar of flowers. (

Characteristics called vestigial characteristics also back up the concept of morphology. These are characteristics in certain organisms that seem to serve no function. Some flightless beetles have wings that never open, and humans have an appendix that doesn’t appear to have a purpose. This strengthens the theory of the evolutionary history of a lineage.

Morphology is the branch of biology that can help identify the structure of certain organisms like birds or reptiles. All vertebrae animals have backbones and among the vertebrates of birds there are feathers, where for reptiles there are scales. Though mammals do not contain scales or feathers, there is a great variety of mammals like kangaroos. What is unique about these marsupials is that they have pouches that they can use to nurse there children. This is one of many examples that morphology uses to help identify the structure of organisms.

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