University of Michigan Museum of Zoology

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Dental School Course Uses the UMMZ Collections for Comparative Anatomy Lecture


Recently, 12 graduate students from the University of Michigan School of Dentistry had the opportunity to visit the UMMZ Mammal Collection as part of Dr. Alex DaSilva's comparative anatomy lecture for their Neural Basis of Oral and Facial Function course.  These students were able to examine skulls from 31 mammalian species, including the Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), red panda (Ailurus fulgens), smoky shrew (Sorex fumeus), and everything in between.  A few years ago, Dr. DaSilva began utilizing the UMMZ Mammal Collection as part of his comparative anatomy lectures in the Dentistry courses, Introduction to Oralfacial Complex and Neural Basis of Oral & Facial Function.  The tremendous species diversity found in the UMMZ Mammal Collections has provided an incredible resource for Dr. DaSilva's students to learn and study the differences in neuromuscular function between humans and other mammals.  "With this very resourceful arrangement and dynamic, our School [Dentistry] can demonstrate to the dental students the crucial role of feeding in the development and differentiation of the teeth, jaws, and joints.  Hence, we are reinforcing the importance of these anatomical structures under the scope of their profession", commented Dr. DaSilva.  The UMMZ collections have become a vital asset to instruction in other academic units on the Michigan campus.