Fire salamander (Amphibia), saltwater crocodile (Reptilia), southern cassowary (Aves), black-and-rufous giant elephant shrew (Mammalia), ocean sunfish (Osteichthyes)

Ossea Batsch, 1788[3]

Vertebrates /ˈvɜːrtɪbrɪts/ comprise all species of animals within the subphylum Vertebrata /-/ (chordates with backbones). Vertebrates represent the overwhelming majority of the phylum Chordata, with currently about 66,000 species described.[4] Vertebrates include the jawless fish and the jawed vertebrates, which include the cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays, and ratfish) and the bony fishes.

A bony fish clade known as the lobe-finned fishes is included with tetrapods, which are further divided into amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Extant vertebrates range in size from the frog species Paedophryne amauensis, at as little as 7.7 mm (0.30 in), to the blue whale, at up to 33 m (108 ft). Vertebrates make up less than five percent of all described animal species; the rest are invertebrates, which lack vertebral columns.

The vertebrates traditionally include the hagfish, which do not have proper vertebrae due to their loss in evolution,[5] though their closest living relatives, the lampreys, do.[6] Hagfish do, however, possess a cranium. For this reason, the vertebrate subphylum is sometimes referred to as "Craniata" when discussing morphology.

Molecular analysis since 1992 has suggested that hagfish are most closely related to lampreys,[7] and so also are vertebrates in a monophyletic sense. Others consider them a sister group of vertebrates in the common taxon of craniata.[8]

The word origin of vertebrate derives from the Latin word vertebratus (Pliny), meaning joint of the spine.[9] The Proto-Indo-European language origins are still unclear.

This page was last edited on 30 June 2018, at 22:40 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

Related Topics

Recently Viewed