Coordination in Animals, Biology tutorial

Introduction to Coordination in Animals:

Animals are dissimilar from plants due to their ability of locomotion. This skill possibly grown as they have to look for food, unlike plants which are autotrophic. As they move from one place to another, animals have to constantly come across changes in their environment. To maintain a stable state inside body (homeostasis), all animals must be able to identify these changes and adapt to them.

The behavior of animal in the environment to preserve itself relies on coordination of organs systems. Without coordination of different organ systems, different physiological procedures would work in haphazard way, without relating together activities. Linking together in time and space of different activities of the animal is known as coordination.

With rising complexity in structure, number and kinds of cells in animal body increased. Therefore it turned out to be essential to have some coordinating mechanism. Two systems have been developed for improved control and coordination of different activities of organisms. These systems are nervous system and endocrine system.

Animals should be able to sense and react to environment in which they dwell if they are to survive. They require being able to sense temperature of the surroundings, for instance, so they can avoid hot sun. They should also be able to recognize food and escape predators.

The different systems and organs in body should also be linked so they work together. For instance, once the predator has recognized appropriate prey it has to catch it. This engages coordinating contraction of muscle so predator can run there should then be increased blood supply to muscles to give them with oxygen and nutrients. Simultaneously respiration rate should increase to supply oxygen and remove carbon dioxide generated as a result of this improved activity. Once prey has been caught and eaten, digestive system should be activated to digest it.

Adjustment of the animal's reply to changes in environment and complex linking of different procedures in body that this reply comprises are known as co-ordination. Two systems are engaged in co-ordination in animals. These are nervous and endocrine systems. First operates through electrical impulses along nerve fibres and second by releasing special chemicals or hormones in bloodstream from glands.

Nervous system is composed of units known as neurons that transmit information by producing electric potential. Endocrine system, in contrast, is composed of glands which secrete chemicals known as hormones. They are secreted in blood which carries them to sites of action.

Animals get the variety of external information by specialized structures known as sense organs (receptors). These are photoreceptors for light, phonoreceptors for sound, and olfacto receptors for smell. Receptors pass information to brain by the kind of nerve cells known as sensory neurons. Another kind of nerve cells, known as motor neurons, transmits information from brain to effector organs. Effectors are primarily muscles and glands. Brain is the centre for analysis of information, like those associated to vision, hearing, movement, smell, taste, flight and other muscular actions.

Coordination is occurred by nervous system and sense organs, and by means of chemical substances (hormones) secreted by endocrine glands. In course of evolution, nervous systems have turn out to be more complex. This is mainly as animals have become larger and more mobile, needing more neurons than sedentary animal.


Neurons are cells which have been modified to hold nerve impulses. The typical neuron has the cell body having a nucleus, one or more branching filaments known as dendrites that carry out nerve impulses towards cell body and one long fibre, axon, which carries impulses away from it. Several axons have the sheath of fatty material known as myelin surrounding them. This speeds up rate at which nerve impulses travel along nerve

The sensory neuron is nerve cell which transmits impulses from the sense receptor like those in eye or ear to brain or spinal cord. The motor neuron is nerve cell which transmits impulses from brain or spinal cord to muscle or gland. The relay neuron joins sensory and motor neurons and is found in brain or spinal cord

Importance of Coordination:

The system of control and coordination is necessary in living organisms so that various body parts can function as a single unit to preserve homeostasis and respond to different stimuli.

To perform the simple function like picking up object from ground there has to be coordination of eyes, hands, legs and vertebral column. Eyes have to concentrate on object, hands have to pick it up and grab it, the legs have to bend and so does back bone i.e. vertebral column. All such actions have to be coordinated in such a manner that they follow the specific sequence and action is completed. The similar mechanism is also required for internal functions of body.

Sensory Receptors (the sense organs):

Sense organs are organs by which we sense or notice changes in external environment. Every sense organ contains special sensory cells that receive stimuli and transmit impulses produced through concerned nerve to brain or spinal cord. Brain sorts out impulses, interprets them and transmits message for required response. In human there are usually 5 sense receptors, ears for hearing, eyes for seeing, tongue for taste, skin for sensing touch, pain, heat and nose for smelling etc.

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