early Cambrian to Recent
A vertebrate is an animal with a spinal cord surrounded by cartilage or bone. The word comes from vertebrae, the bones that make up the ]]spine]]. Animals that are not vertebrates are called invertebrates. Vertebrates include birds, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. The parts of the vertebrate skeleton are:
- Braincase: A braincase or cranium protects the brain.
- Vertebrae: A series of short, stiff vertebrae are separated by joints. This internal backbone protects the spinal cord. The joints between the vertebrae let the backbone bend.
- Bones: support and protect the body's soft tissues and provides points for muscle attachment.
- Gill arches: Gill arches in the pharynx of fish and some amphibians support the gills.
Examples of vertebrates are mammals, birds, and fish. A few tens of thousands of species have been identified. Most are fish. Sharks, and related skates and rays, are vertebrates with cartilage instead of bones.
Taxonomy and classification[change | change source]
- Subphylum Vertebrata
- Agnatha (jawless vertebrates)
- Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates)
- Tetrapoda (four-limbed vertebrates)
Related pages[change | change source]
Other websites[change | change source]
|Wikispecies has information on: Vertebrata.|
|Amphibian • Bird • Fish • Mammal • Reptile|