Vertebrates are the animal species that possess a vertebral column or a notochord at any point in their lives. They belong to the Phylum Chordata and Subphylum Vertebrata.
A vertebrate is an animal from the Vertebrate Subphylum and the Chordate Phylum. They are characterized by a muscular system and have backbones. They are among the most recognizable organisms and species in the animal kingdom. There are about 6200 - 6500 diverse vertebrates discovered to date. They are also one of the most dominant terrestrial animals for billions and billions of years. The subphylum of vertebrates represents an overwhelming and vast majority of the parent phylum chordata.
Any animal species with a backbone extending entirely at the back of the body and possessing a skeleton are referred to as the vertebrates and belong to the subphylum of vertebrata. They also include human beings. When we think about the term vertebrates, we tend to think about bones.
What distinguishes vertebrates from other animals is that they possess a spinal or a vertebral column.
The earliest vertebrates originated about 500 to 600 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion. They were jawless fish, and they did not have a vertebral column but had a cranium to protect the brain. The amphibians, mammals, reptiles, birds, etc., evolved after the fishes. These groups initially had a basic vertebrate body comprising a notochord, vertebrate, and a well-defined head and tail.
The class of vertebrates is classified into 7 classes based on their physical and anatomical structures:
1. Class Aves: They are characterized based on feathers, toothless beaks, and a high metabolic rate. They also lay hard-shelled eggs.
2. Class Mammalia: This set of organisms can regulate their body temperature irrespective of the surrounding temperature. They are endothermic animals, and this class includes human beings and platypuses.
3. Class Amphibia: This class includes ectothermic amphibians such as frogs, salamanders, etc. Most amphibians need water as their breeding grounds as they lay shell-less eggs. This way, the young ones transform from fully aquatic larval forms to fully terrestrial forms.
4. Class Reptilia: Ectothermic tetrapods like snakes, turtles, crocodiles, etc.
5. Class Osteichthyes: This is characterized by a skeleton made of bones. They are also known to be the largest class of vertebrates today.
6. Class Chondrichthyes: This class is characterized by cartilages instead of bones in their skeleton. They include sharks, skates, rays, sawfish, etc.
7. Class Agnatha: They are very primitive and jawless fishes with circular mouths. This class mostly consists of scavengers and parasites.
The vertebrates reproduce sexually, and most of them have seperate male and female sexes present. Vertebrates follow one of these 3 types of reproduction types:
1. Vivipary: It is the development of an embryo inside the parent's body. This type of mechanism produces the young ones instead of laying eggs. e.g., human beings, dogs, cats, elephants, etc
2. Ovipary: Here, the female animal lays eggs with little or no embryonic development within the mother, and the mother provides no nourishment to the developing embryo inside the egg. E.g., Most fish. amphibians, reptiles, etc
3. Ovovivipary: These animals lay eggs and develop the eggs inside the other's womb or body. The eggs are hatched inside the mother, reproducing her young ones. E.g., sharks, rays, snakes, some insects, etc
1. What are the 5 classifications of vertebrates?
The five classifications of vertebrates are: Class Amphibia, Class Mammalia, Class Aves, Class Reptilia, Class Fishes
2. What are the 4 major characteristics of vertebrate subphylum?
The 4 major characteristics of vertebrate subphylum are:
3. How are vertebrates classified into different groups?
Vertebrates are classified based on anatomical and physical criteria such as an exoskeleton, respiratory organs, method of giving birth, mode of living, etc.
4. What are vertebrates? Give two examples?
Vertebrates have a spine, or backbone, made of multiple disc-shaped bones called vertebrae. There are five classes of vertebrates: amphibians, fish, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Examples include frogs, tuna.
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