May 14, 2013
Vertebrates are the most advanced organisms on Earth. The traits that make all of the animals in this section special are their spinal cords, vertebrae, and notochords. It's all about having a series of nerves along your back (dorsal side). If you are an organism, you can't just have the nerves sitting there. You need to give those nerves support and protection. That need brings us to the backbones and a rod of cartilage called the notochord. Fifty thousand species might seem like a lot. Compared to the invertebrates, there are not that many species of vertebrates. You might be asking why. One reason is that vertebrates are usually larger than invertebrates. They need more space. Another reason is that, even though they are more advanced, there are many limitations on the environments that are available to them. Think about it this way. If you are smart mammal, would you rather live near the ocean or in the frozen tundra of the arctic? Many land animals can make that decision and move to more desirable areas for living. Those nicer areas can only support so many species of animals.
Vertebrates are smart. Some of them are very smart and I would like to think that’s us, humans. We have a high intelligence compared to most other species like goldfish, because most vertebrates have very advanced nervous systems. The only exception of invertebrates that may be smarter than most vertebrates is the Octopi. More cool traits about vertebrates are that they have muscles and skeletons. While the materials may vary, muscles allow vertebrates to move around very efficiently and perform complex moves. That ability to move and the intelligence to go with it gives vertebrates such as reptiles and birds an advantage in the natural world.
Among those intelligent vertebrates, I consider parrots to be one of them because of their unique ability to imitate sounds and even learn a language. When I was a little girl, I used to...