One of these following facts about vertebrates should open up your mind about this animal kingdom. Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata. They include the overwhelming majority of the phylum Chordata, with currently about 64,000 species described. Vertebrates also include the jawless fish and the jawed vertebrates, which includes the cartilaginous fish and the bony fish. Extant vertebrates range in size from the frog species Paedophryne amauensis, at as little as 7.7 mm to the blue whale, at up to 33 m. Vertebrates make up about 4% of all described animal species; the rest are invertebrates, which lack backbones. To get to know more about them, here are some facts about vertebrates you may like to know.
Facts about vertebrates 1: Etymology
The word “vertebrate” derives from the Latin word “vertebratus” (Pliny), meaning “joint of the spine”. It is closely related to the word “vertebra”, which refers to any of the bones or segments of the spinal column.
Facts about vertebrates 2: Anatomy
All vertebrates are built along the basic chordate body plan: a stiff rod running through the length of the animal, with a hollow tube of nervous tissue (the spinal cord) above it and the gastrointestinal tract below. In all vertebrates, the mouth is found at, or right below, the anterior end of the animal, while the anus opens to the exterior before the end of the body. The remaining part of the body continuing after of the anus forms a tail with vertebrae and spinal cord, but no gut.
Facts about vertebrates 3: Vertebral Column
The defining characteristic of a vertebrate is the vertebral column, in which the notochord (a stiff rod of uniform composition) found in all chordates has been replaced by a segmented series of stiffer elements (vertebrae) separated by mobile joints. However, a few vertebrates have secondarily lost this anatomy, retaining the notochord into adulthood, such as the stugeon, and the Latimeria.
Facts about vertebrates 4: First Vertebrates
Vertebrates originated about 525 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion, which saw the rise in organism diversity. The earliest known vertebrate is believed to be the Myllokunmingja. Another early vertebrate is Haikouichthys ercaicunensis. Unlike the other fauna that dominated the Cambrian, these groups had the basic vertebrate body plan: a notochord, rudimentary vertebrae, and a well-defined head and tail.
Facts about vertebrates 5: Fish to Amphibians
The first jawed vertebrates appeared in the latest Ordovician and became common in the Devonian, often known as the “Age of Fishes”. The two groups of bony fishes, the actinopterygii and sarcoterygii, evolved and became common.
Facts about vertebrates 6: Phylogenetic Relationships
In phylogenetic taxonomy, the relationships between animals are not typically divided into ranks, but illustrated as a nested “family tree” known as a cladogram. Phylogenetic groups are given definitions based on their relationship to one another, rather than purely on physical traits such as the presence of a backbone.
Facts about vertebrates 7: Traditional Classification
Conventional classification has living vertebrates grouped into seven classes based on traditional interpretations of gross anatomical and physiological traits. This classification is the one most commonly encountered in school textbooks, overviews, non-specialist, and popular works.
Facts about vertebrates 8: Birds
In most birds, males and females can be easily distinguished. The males are generally much more colorful than the females. The males use their colors to try to attract mates. The females are generally dull brown colors.
Facts about vertebrates 9: Pacific Grey Whale
A female Pacific Grey Whale gestates and delivers a 2000 pound baby, migrates over 10,000 miles, and produces 6 tons of breast milk without eating a bite of food, using just her blubber for fuel.
Facts about vertebrates 10: Frogs
Frogs can breathe not only with their lungs, but also through their skin. A frogs skin is thin and contains many mucous glands that keep it moist. Oxygen can be absorbed through this thin, damp skin.
Hope you would find those vertebrates facts really interesting and useful for your research and reading.