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Last updated:

April 16, 2022


Unlimited Duration


This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration


Many mammals are food specialists, with complex adaptations that gear them toward a particular food source.

So how do the omnivores survive and prosper without these fancy evolutionary features? This free course, Studying mammals: The opportunists, examines the physiology, diet and strategies of some of these opportunistic feeders. It is the sixth course in the Studying mammals series.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Explain the concept of energy transfer between trophic levels
  • Outline the usefulness and limitations of food chains and food webs
  • Using examples, weigh up the value of dietary specialisation and of omnivory
  • Summarise the physiological changes linked with ‘hibernation’ in grizzly bears
  • Give examples of variations in diet and lifestyle among the bear family.

Course Curriculum

  • Introduction 00:10:00
  • Learning outcomes 00:07:00
  • The omnivores 00:20:00
    • Trophic levels 00:15:00
    • Energy flow in ecosystems 00:20:00
    • Food chains and food webs 00:30:00
    • Is specialisation always advantageous? 00:20:00
    • The grizzly bear 00:30:00
    • Other members of the bear family 00:40:00
    • Miss Piggy 00:20:00
    • The good family Procyonidae 00:20:00
    • Of rats and men 00:10:00
    • What makes a successful omnivore? 00:30:00
    • Conclusion 00:03:00

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