1) 8 gigs of RAM = never need more in your lifetime. 2 Gigs is just fine (DDR2 at least). @ 8 gigs, your RAM will outlive you most likely.
2)Quad Core for just animation and "etc." programs is excessive. If the programs you want require Dual Core, you'll need Dual Core but probably not Quad Core. Albiet you can never have too much power.
3) Do NOT get a Dell Laptop because I know their desktops are designed only for use with Dell parts. Their laptops might be the same way.
4) Unfortunately Vista is standard, to my knowledge, for laptops - you're going to have trouble with it. Make sure any programs you want are compatible with Vista.
5)Newegg.com will probably have some sweet deals for laptops at reasonable prices. Keep in mind, laptops and desktops are not cheap. Doesnt matter what kind you get (unless its a sideshow bob special).
6) You'll probably want a bigger HD - 300 GB is always a good amount of space - and I think its pretty standard nowadays. I'm no expert on Laptops, but know this - the most powerful laptop cannot compare to a good powerful desktop.
Doctors heal you, Artists immortalize you.
"Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" - bullshit.
The usual staples for anatomy: