by Miller & Levine
[complete Table of Contents]
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Reptiles and Birds
In this chapter, students will read about the adaptations
of reptiles and birds and the major living groups that make up these two
classes of chordates.
Section 31-1: Reptiles
A reptile is a
vertebrate that has scaly skin, lungs, and eggs with several membranes.
lungs; a double-loop circulatory system; an efficient excretory system;
strong limbs; internal fertilization; and shelled, terrestrial eggs are
the main adaptations that have contributed to the success of reptiles
The four surviving
orders of reptiles are lizards and snakes, crocodilians, turtles and tortoises,
and the tuatara.
Section 31-2: Birds
Birds are reptilelike
animals that maintain a constant internal body temperature. They have
an outer covering of feathers, two legs that are covered with scales and
are used for walking or perching, and front limbs modified into wings.
Birds have a number
of adaptations that enable them to fly. These adaptations include highly
efficient digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems; aerodynamic
feathers and wings; and strong chest muscles.