Vertebrate Characteristics and Diversity

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Vertebrate Characteristics and Diversity Phylum Chordata * 48,000 species * true coelom * Chordates” * Contains invertebrate and vertebrate species * All have bilateral symmetry * All at one point have a notochord, dorsal nerve cord, pharynx, and gill slits * Aquatic and terrestrial * Deutrostomes * Tail sometime in lifecycle. 4 major identifying characteristics: 1. Notochord * Flexible rod like structure enclosed by a fibrous sheath extends the length of the body in larva and/or adult. * provides basic support and serves as main axis for muscle attachments to permit “fishlike” undulatory movements. * first part of skeleton to form in embryo * in primitive chordates the notochord persists through life. * Embryos all have a common skeletal structure called a notochord. The notochord is a flexible rod located between the digestive tube and nerve chord. The notochord: * a. Provides skeletal support. * b. In most vertebrates, it’s replaced by a jointed skeleton. * c. Remains of the notochord exist as disks between the vertebrae. 2. Dorsal tubular nerve cord * Develops into the brain and spinal cord of the adult. * in most invert groups; nerve cord is ventral & paired * in chordates the nerve cord is a single dorsal hollow nerve cord * front end usually enlarged to form brain 3. Pharyngeal (gill) slits Water enters through the mouth and passes out through the slits in the pharynx, without going through the digestive system. i. Slits function as suspension-feeding devices in many invertebrate chordates ii. Slits have been modified in more evolved vertebrates for: - Gas exchange - Hearing - Jaw support 4. Endostyle or thyroid gland *
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