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Authorization of Animal Experiments Is Based on Confidence Rather than Evidence of Scientific Rigor
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Accumulating evidence indicates high risk of bias in preclinical animal research, questioning the scientific validity and reproducibility of published research findings. Systematic reviews found low rates of reporting of measures against risks of bias in the published literature (e.g., randomization, blinding, sample size calculation) and a correlation between low reporting rates and inflated treatment effects. That most animal research undergoes peer review or ethical review would offer the possibility to detect risks of bias at an earlier stage, before the research has been conducted. For example, in Switzerland, animal experiments are licensed based on a detailed description of the study protocol and a harm–benefit analysis. We therefore screened applications for animal experiments submitted to Swiss authorities (n = 1,277) for the rates at which the use of seven basic measures against bias (allocation concealment, blinding, randomization, sample size calculation, inclusion/exclusion criteria, primary outcome variable, and statistical analysis plan) were described and compared them with the reporting rates of the same measures in a representative sub-sample of publications (n = 50) resulting from studies described in these applications. Measures against bias were described at very low rates, ranging on average from 2.4% for statistical analysis plan to 19% for primary outcome variable in applications for animal experiments, and from 0.0% for sample size calculation to 34% for statistical analysis plan in publications from these experiments. Calculating an internal validity score (IVS) based on the proportion of the seven measures against bias, we found a weak positive correlation between the IVS of applications and that of publications (Spearman’s rho = 0.34, p = 0.014), indicating that the rates of description of these measures in applications partly predict their rates of reporting in publications. These results indicate that the authorities licensing animal experiments are lacking important information about experimental conduct that determines the scientific validity of the findings, which may be critical for the weight attributed to the benefit of the research in the harm–benefit analysis. Similar to manuscripts getting accepted for publication despite poor reporting of measures against bias, applications for animal experiments may often be approved based on implicit confidence rather than explicit evidence of scientific rigor. Our findings shed serious doubt on the current authorization procedure for animal experiments, as well as the peer-review process for scientific publications, which in the long run may undermine the credibility of research. Developing existing authorization procedures that are already in place in many countries towards a preregistration system for animal research is one promising way to reform the system. This would not only benefit the scientific validity of findings from animal experiments but also help to avoid unnecessary harm to animals for inconclusive research.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Reading
Provider:
PLOS Biology
Author:
Christina Nathues
Hanno Würbel
Lucile Vogt
Thomas S. Reichlin
Date Added:
08/07/2020
Cardiorespiratory System Overview - Anatomy & Physiology
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The mammalian cardiovascular and respiratory systems have evolved primarily to provide the tissues of the body with oxygen and to remove carbon dioxide. The cardiorespiratory system also has metabolic and heat exchange roles.

Subject:
Life Science
Anatomy/Physiology
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Reading
Provider:
WikiVet
Provider Set:
Anatomy & Physiology
Date Added:
02/05/2015
Common Misconceptions about Mammals
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This article lists common misconceptions about mammals. It provides formative assessment probes and information about teaching for conceptual change.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
Jessica Fries-Gaither
Date Added:
10/17/2014
CreatureCast – PhyloTree
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This video demonstrates some of the features of PhyloTree. It then shows the early explosive discovery of mammal species (most major mammal groups were discovered early on), and then shows the slow and steady discovery of cnidarians (many cnidarians remain to be described). The tool can also be used to quickly find the first species that was described in a group. The first siphonophore to be described, for example, was Physalia physalis (the Portuguese man o’ war).

Subject:
Biology
Zoology
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
Dunn Lab at Brown University
Provider Set:
CreatureCast
Author:
Casey Dunn
Date Added:
09/26/2013
Desirable Breeding Traits in Cattle
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Educational Use
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This video from Nature offers a description of desirable traits in beef and dairy cattle.

Subject:
Engineering
Life Science
Biology
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
PBS LearningMedia
Provider Set:
PBS Learning Media Common Core Collection
Teachers' Domain
Author:
Canon
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
SC Johnson
WNET
Date Added:
11/11/2008
The Evidence Lines Up in Early Mammal Evolution
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Back in the Jurassic, dinosaurs may have dominated terrestrial ecosystems, but they were not alone. Scurrying around their feet and clinging to the trees above them were the fuzzy ancestors of their successors. When most of the dinosaurs perished, the surviving mammals diversified into the dinosaurs' niches, where they remain today. Last month, scientists reported on the discovery of a fossil mammal from China that would have lived alongside the dinosaurs and that, at 160 million years old, represents one of the earliest mammals known.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Reading
Provider:
National Center For Science Education
University of California Museum of Paleontology
Provider Set:
Understanding Evolution
Date Added:
09/01/2011
Experiment with Ecosystems
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The goal of this activity is to give students the opportunity to “think like a scientist,” making hypotheses, doing experiments, making observations, and analyzing data. Students are encouraged to construct and conduct their own experiments with ecosystems comprising grass, rabbits, and up to two predator species: hawks and foxes. (Evolution Readiness Activity 10 of 10.)

Subject:
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Data Set
Diagram/Illustration
Interactive
Lecture Notes
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Concord Consortium
Provider Set:
Concord Consortium Collection
Author:
The Concord Consortium
The National Science Foundation
Date Added:
12/11/2011
Heart Development - Anatomy & Physiology
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The formation of the mammalian heart is a fairly complex process. It begins when angiogenic mesodermal cells in the cardiogenic plate coalesce to form the endocardial tubes. The endocardial tubes then fuse to form a single duct, the cardiac tube. This undergoes a process of distension, folding and septation and a four chambered, dual circuit pump is formed . The simple heart seen in fish or amphibians forms via the same path but development ceases at an earlier stage.

Subject:
Life Science
Anatomy/Physiology
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Reading
Provider:
WikiVet
Provider Set:
Anatomy & Physiology
Date Added:
02/05/2015
Heart Structure - Anatomy & Physiology
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The heart is located in the thoracic cavity in between the lungs, 60% of it lying to the left of the median plane. The heart’s lateral projection extends from rib 3 to 6. Most of the heart’s surface is covered by the lungs and in juveniles it is bordered cranially by the thymus. Caudally the heart extends as far as the diaphragm. Variations in position and size exist among individuals depending on species, breed, age, fitness and pathology. Roughly speaking, the heart is responsible for about 0.75% of the bodyweight.

Subject:
Life Science
Anatomy/Physiology
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Reading
Provider:
WikiVet
Provider Set:
Anatomy & Physiology
Date Added:
02/05/2015
Holy Cow: A Cow's Digestive System
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Educational Use
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Learn how a cow eats and digests food in this video segment from Nature.

Subject:
Life Science
Biology
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
PBS LearningMedia
Provider Set:
PBS Learning Media: Multimedia Resources for the Classroom and Professional Development
Teachers' Domain
Author:
Canon
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
SC Johnson
WNET
Date Added:
11/12/2008
Indiana Mammals and Their Environments
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This is a project-based learning lesson about Indiana Mammals and Their Environments. The lesson is about common Indiana animals that the kids see everyday and how humans impact their environments. The goal of the lesson is for the kids to create an environment that meets the needs of all of the animals and the humans without causing any problems, and then present those environments to the class in the form of a claymation project.

Subject:
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Data Set
Interactive
Lesson
Lesson Plan
Author:
Jacob Hendershot
Date Added:
02/28/2017
Is It a Mammal?
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CC BY-SA
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This formative assessment item uncovers misconception and student ideas about classifications of mammals. It will uncover how students think when classifying animals. The probe is aligned to the National Science Education Standards. Information is provided for instructional suggestions and background information.

Subject:
Engineering
Education
Mathematics
Material Type:
Assessment
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
Jessica Fries-Gaither
Date Added:
01/17/2009
Mammals: Virtual Bookshelf
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This article features children's literature about mammals and the mammals that live in the polar regions.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
Julie Moran
Date Added:
10/17/2014
Natural Selection
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The concept of interdependence in an ecosystem and its effect on the evolution of populations is further explored through a model of a dam. Students build a dam in the middle of the field, dividing the ecosystem in half to illustrate the affects of geographic isolation. They watch as the grass and then the rabbit populations in that region shift to one variant in the population. When students remove the dam, they observe the ecosystem slowly return to its original state.

Subject:
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Data Set
Diagram/Illustration
Interactive
Lecture Notes
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Concord Consortium
Provider Set:
Concord Consortium Collection
Author:
The Concord Consortium
The National Science Foundation
Date Added:
12/11/2011
Pets: Oh Behave
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A key goal of this lesson, from Science NetLinks, is to show students how different factors affect our pets' behavior - including species-specific traits, the environment, training, and experience. Students will read about and discuss pet behavior, focusing on the difference between innate and learned behaviors.

Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Provider:
AAAS
Provider Set:
Science Netlinks
Date Added:
08/06/2006
Polar Mammals - Issue 10, January 2009
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This issue of the free online magazine, Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears, explores the mammals of the polar regions and the adaptations that help them survive in harsh environments.

Subject:
Engineering
Education
Life Science
Physics
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
The Ohio State University
Date Added:
10/17/2014
Polar Mammals: Unit Outlines
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This article assembles free resources from the Polar Mammals issue of the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears cyberzine into a unit outline based on the 5E learning cycle framework. Outlines are provided for Grades K-2 and 3-5.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Ohio State University College of Education and Human Ecology
Provider Set:
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears: An Online Magazine for K-5 Teachers
Author:
Jessica Fries-Gaither
Date Added:
10/17/2014
Predators and Prey
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This activity uses a model of the Virtual Ecosystem with three species in it: grass, rabbits, and hawks, enabling the students to explore the effect of predation on the prey population. At first students explore protective coloration as they 'become' a hawk and try to catch and eat brown and white rabbits on a snowy field. The latter blend into the background and are harder to see, so they have a selective advantage. Students then explore how the color of the rabbit population changes as the environment changes over time.

Subject:
Life Science
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Data Set
Diagram/Illustration
Interactive
Lecture Notes
Lesson Plan
Provider:
Concord Consortium
Provider Set:
Concord Consortium Collection
Author:
The Concord Consortium
The National Science Foundation
Date Added:
12/11/2011