acarson

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I'm scheduled to take comparative next year and I just had a simple question. My advisor has strongly suggested that I need comparative over human anatomy to prepare me better for med school. He knows what hes doing, so I trust him, but I am just curious to hear what everyone elses opinion is on the matter. Which is more useful?
 

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acarson said:
I'm scheduled to take comparative next year and I just had a simple question. My advisor has strongly suggested that I need comparative over human anatomy to prepare me better for med school. He knows what hes doing, so I trust him, but I am just curious to hear what everyone elses opinion is on the matter. Which is more useful?
As is always true for advisors, your advisor is wrong. Human anatomy will be helpful. Comparative will be a waste of time.
 

jkhamlin

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OSUdoc08 said:
As is always true for advisors, your advisor is wrong. Human anatomy will be helpful. Comparative will be a waste of time.
I disagree. I know you have the med school experience, but look at it from a more logical point of view. People do just fine all the time in med school without having human anatomy for premed. If you take comparative anatomy, you actually learn more. For instance, it relates ALOT to embryology whereas human only anatomy does not. You learn why structures are the way they are and where they obtained their function. I took comparative vertebrate anatomy and I understand anatomy alot better than my classmates that opted for human only.
 

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My advisor told me the same thing. She said it was because A. Med schools want you to learn atatomy "their way" and B. Human anatomy is just memorization while comparitive anatomy involves more analysis and might teach you something you will actually remember.
 

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acarson said:
I'm scheduled to take comparative next year and I just had a simple question. My advisor has strongly suggested that I need comparative over human anatomy to prepare me better for med school. He knows what hes doing, so I trust him, but I am just curious to hear what everyone elses opinion is on the matter. Which is more useful?


You don't "need" to take anatomy, unless it's required for your major. If that's the case, take whichever one you are interested in more. Gross anatomy is a lot more detailed than what you will get in undergrad, and even coming in without previously had any anatomy you will do fine. ( as long as you study hard as you are suppossed to! ) :D

Also, as for embryology, it generally is a relatively easy and low yield course, so don't worry about it.
 

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jkhamlin said:
I disagree. I know you have the med school experience, but look at it from a more logical point of view. People do just fine all the time in med school without having human anatomy for premed. If you take comparative anatomy, you actually learn more. For instance, it relates ALOT to embryology whereas human only anatomy does not. You learn why structures are the way they are and where they obtained their function. I took comparative vertebrate anatomy and I understand anatomy alot better than my classmates that opted for human only.
Neither classes will be that helpful for medical school, however learning about humans vs. animals? hello?

We only cover humans in med school. Human gross anatomy is a much larger component of medical school than embryology anyway.

By the way, I didn't take anatomy in college, but the ones that took human anatomy did very well.
 

jkhamlin

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OSUdoc08 said:
Neither classes will be that helpful for medical school, however learning about humans vs. animals? hello?

We only cover humans in med school. Human gross anatomy is a much larger component of medical school than embryology anyway.

By the way, I didn't take anatomy in college, but the ones that took human anatomy did very well.
Humans are animals. Also, all the parts are the same (or are derivitave) in all vertebrates. In comparative, you learn WHY the muscles are innervated the way they are, not just straight memorization without understanding. You learn why the sinoatrial node is not just called the atrial node. You learn why we have longer legs and flatter faces than chimps who are almost identical genetically. You learn why the arms and legs are structured the way they are instead of just what the structure is. There are countless other examples. Why take human anatomy in undergrad if you are just going to take it again in med school? Why not broaden the scope to include the comparative functions and structures and have a better foundation to build on rather than just take the same thing twice? Not to mention the fact that the MCAT that I took had comparative anatomy questions on it. Human anatomy would have been no help there, but I could have handled a human anatomy question with comparative anatomy knowledge because human anatomy is part of comparative anatomy.
 

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My undergrad doesn't recognize Human A&P as part of Biology electives for the Biology degree, but we can take Comp. Anat. I took Comp. Anat. and I enjoyed it thoroughly. It really expands your knowledge relative to basic anatomy. I think knowing comparative will facilitate learning Human A&P. Of course, just my 2 cents. ;)
 

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jkhamlin said:
Humans are animals. Also, all the parts are the same (or are derivitave) in all vertebrates. In comparative, you learn WHY the muscles are innervated the way they are, not just straight memorization without understanding. You learn why the sinoatrial node is not just called the atrial node. You learn why we have longer legs and flatter faces than chimps who are almost identical genetically. You learn why the arms and legs are structured the way they are instead of just what the structure is. There are countless other examples. Why take human anatomy in undergrad if you are just going to take it again in med school? Why not broaden the scope to include the comparative functions and structures and have a better foundation to build on rather than just take the same thing twice? Not to mention the fact that the MCAT that I took had comparative anatomy questions on it. Human anatomy would have been no help there, but I could have handled a human anatomy question with comparative anatomy knowledge because human anatomy is part of comparative anatomy.
Why take anatomy at all since you have it in med school? I did well enough without it.

By the way, the Human Anatomy course offered at OU has a cadaver lab, and is in fact very helpful for school. My lab partner taught me everything from her experiences in that class. I know of a couple of other colleges around here that offer the same thing.

If it is just one of those nursing prerequisite A&P classes, then yes, it wouldn't be that helpful.

You learn enough about the SA node in med school anyway.

Let's be clear here:

Anatomy & Physiology

and

Human Anatomy

are 2 different classes----let's not get them confused.

A&P is not considered a science class, whereas human anatomy may even included cadavers, depending on your school. Obviously, you would pick anything over that non-science A&P course. Remember: the OP did not mention an A&P course.

The comparison between comparative anatomy and non-science A&P is obvious.

Comparative and human is less clear, depending on your school.
 

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At my school human A&P is not required for BIO majors, but is required for those going into nursing, paramedicine, kinesiology etc. At one medical school, I was SPECIFICALLY asked about the Comparitive class that I took (5 units, i got a B).

The person mentioned that current med students from my undergrad had said that "C.V.A." was the closest they got to the rigors of an actual medical school class.

When describing the (human a&p) class to my physician mentor, he thought it would be a complete waste of time and to definitely take Comparitive because adcoms notice that grade when it's on a transcript.

As an EMT, I just got a kick out of calling it "CVA." It's got a wider joke potential than "A&P" :D
 

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I hated Comparative Anatomy. Lecture was more like the evolution of Verts. Lab was OK except for the mudpuppy and the dogfish shark. Sure I may know that the three types of mammalian horns are bovine horns, hair horns, and horns of pronhorn antelopes but little good it does me when I am knee deep in the brachial and cervical plexus or trying to remember all those damn triangles and their borders.
I spoke with my med school advisor (who handles most PCOM interviews this year) about this and he says take whatever you want. I did not have the option as Comp. Anatomy was the only thing available.
 

CoverMe

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hahahaha! so true!! The mud puppy was bad. I had a really great lab partner, and we had a hysterical time in CVA lab. Lobe, sac, bulb, track! (dogfish shark, olfactory) I'll be able to ID the leviator hyomandibulae for the rest of my life, as well as the paraglossal nerve.

We did a perch (a quickie dissection, not as detailed as some of the others) and Kevin and I were talking about the news article on TV just the night before, about those Seattle fish market guys that throw the fish at each other... so I said "Kevin!" and tossed my Perch at him (across the table, not across the room or anything!). Kevin screamed, threw his hands in the air, and Mr. Perch goes sailing right by him, skidding on the floor. One of the UTA's walked by and picked up our perch, dusted him off, handed him to Kevin and (with a straight face!) said, "I believe you have a dust bunny on your peduncle." Hysterical.

Get a great partner, and CVA isn't all that bad. Seems like good practice to have to work your arse off and memorize a bazillion things. Besides, I like dissecting. If your human A&P is actually rigorous, it sounds like a good option, but most schools don't have an awesome A&P course with human cadavers.
 

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As some one who's taken anatomy in undergrad, including the advanced anatomy in undergrad with cadever lab, I highly reccomend you take Human anatomy, if it is a detailed course. Anatomy at anything beyond the basic level should not be about memorization, rather concepts. If realy soley on memorization, you might reatain some info for a test, but then you will quickly do a brain dump. Also people at my shcool who had a real anatomy in undergrad tended to a little less stressed in anatomy and tended to spend less time on it thereby having more for other subjects. In the end if CVA is not a required course I'd by pass it.

One caveat though if you are not starting next fall, then I would'nt take either anatomy unless you plan on TAing to tutoring it, because you will forget it. For it to really help in med school, you really should take an advaced anatomy that has human cadevers or prosections. Beging anatomy does not scratch the surface of what is taught at Med school.

If you are not starting med school in the fall I highly reccomend takeing Human embryology before takeing anatomy. Embryology will go a long way toward helping you understand important clinical correlations and also understanding Anatomy as well.

Just one side note, never take advice about medical school unless it's form someone who teaches the course at medschool, some one who is currently in med school or from a physician. They tend to know whats going on and what is benificial.
 

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Docgeorge said:
As some one who's taken anatomy in undergrad, including the advanced anatomy in undergrad with cadever lab, I highly reccomend you take Human anatomy, if it is a detailed course. Anatomy at anything beyond the basic level should not be about memorization, rather concepts. If realy soley on memorization, you might reatain some info for a test, but then you will quickly do a brain dump. Also people at my shcool who had a real anatomy in undergrad tended to a little less stressed in anatomy and tended to spend less time on it thereby having more for other subjects. In the end if CVA is not a required course I'd by pass it.

One caveat though if you are not starting next fall, then I would'nt take either anatomy unless you plan on TAing to tutoring it, because you will forget it. For it to really help in med school, you really should take an advaced anatomy that has human cadevers or prosections. Beging anatomy does not scratch the surface of what is taught at Med school.

If you are not starting med school in the fall I highly reccomend takeing Human embryology before takeing anatomy. Embryology will go a long way toward helping you understand important clinical correlations and also understanding Anatomy as well.

Just one side note, never take advice about medical school unless it's form someone who teaches the course at medschool, some one who is currently in med school or from a physician. They tend to know whats going on and what is benificial.
:thumbup: Thanks for saying it.
 

jkhamlin

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OSUdoc08 said:
Why take anatomy at all since you have it in med school? I did well enough without it.

By the way, the Human Anatomy course offered at OU has a cadaver lab, and is in fact very helpful for school. My lab partner taught me everything from her experiences in that class. I know of a couple of other colleges around here that offer the same thing.

If it is just one of those nursing prerequisite A&P classes, then yes, it wouldn't be that helpful.

You learn enough about the SA node in med school anyway.

Let's be clear here:

Anatomy & Physiology

and

Human Anatomy

are 2 different classes----let's not get them confused.

A&P is not considered a science class, whereas human anatomy may even included cadavers, depending on your school. Obviously, you would pick anything over that non-science A&P course. Remember: the OP did not mention an A&P course.

The comparison between comparative anatomy and non-science A&P is obvious.

Comparative and human is less clear, depending on your school.
1. I never mentioned A&P.
2. My university has a human only anatomy class complete with cadaver lab, and a comparative vertebrate anatomy class complete with gross and microscopic analysis of vertebrate specimens. A friend of mine is the lab GA for the human only one. I chose the comparative anatomy class because I would learn more and would have human only in med school anyway.
3. I am very familiar with the "human only" versus "real biology" debate because my university is very split over the issue. SMSU has an undergraduate biomedical sciences department (which is a human only, molecular level only, biology department and makes regular attempts at annointing themselves as the "premed department" because of this) and an undergraduate biology department (which understands that any major can prepare one well for med school). To my knowledge, neither department has an A&P class. The nursing school on campus might. Don't know, don't care.
4. It is not bad advice to listen to those outside of medical school about what is a good course to take to learn important material. I may not be a med student and premed advisors may not be med school professors, but we are all well educated in biology and do have a valid point that can withstand reductionist arguments.
 

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jkhamlin said:
1. I never mentioned A&P.
2. My university has a human only anatomy class complete with cadaver lab, and a comparative vertebrate anatomy class complete with gross and microscopic analysis of vertebrate specimens. A friend of mine is the lab GA for the human only one. I chose the comparative anatomy class because I would learn more and would have human only in med school anyway.
3. I am very familiar with the "human only" versus "real biology" debate because my university is very split over the issue. SMSU has an undergraduate biomedical sciences department (which is a human only, molecular level only, biology department and makes regular attempts at annointing themselves as the "premed department" because of this) and an undergraduate biology department (which understands that any major can prepare one well for med school). To my knowledge, neither department has an A&P class. The nursing school on campus might. Don't know, don't care.
4. It is not bad advice to listen to those outside of medical school about what is a good course to take to learn important material. I may not be a med student and premed advisors may not be med school professors, but we are all well educated in biology and do have a valid point that can withstand reductionist arguments.
Well, your statement is only partially true. Only people who have actually taken gross anatomy can tell you which course will be most helpful. The obvious choice is the course with a human cadaver, and not non-human animals.

However, it is important to realize that neither course really helps that much in the long run. Medical school is a different way of studying and learning than in college. You will no more be at an advantage or disadvantage if you take either course or neither at all.