We explain what a vertebrate animal is and how these animals are classified. In addition, characteristics and examples of vertebrates.
What are vertebrate animals?
Vertebrate animals are an extremely diverse set of the animal kingdom, made up of almost 62, 000 current and many other extinct species, whose individuals have in common the presence of a backbone or spine that divides their body into two sim portions tric bilaterally.
Vertebrates also have a skull that protects the brain, integrated into a bone or cartilaginous skeleton. Their bodies, typically, are divided into three regions: head, trunk and tail. The trunk, moreover, is divided into thorax and abdomen.
Evolutionarily, vertebrates come from a sweet aquifer environment, but throughout the ages they have managed to adapt to most of the planet's environments, even the most challenging, thus having a presence in the sea, land and air. The oldest representative of this group is the Haikouichthys fish, emerged around 530 million years ago, during the lower Cambrian period, and today extinct.
The traditional biological classification of vertebrate animals distinguishes between 10 different classes, grouped as follows:
- Agnatha superclass (without jaws) . Here are the lampreys (Cephalaspidomorphi-Petromyzontiformes class) and the mixines (Myxini class), as well as numerous species of already extinct jawless fish.
- Gnathostomata superclass (with jaws) . Here are some already extinct primitive fish (Placodermi class), sharks, rays and cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes class), also extinct cliffs or spiny sharks (Acanthodii class) and skeletal fish (Osteichthyes class).
- Tetrapoda superclass (with four limbs) . In this group are amphibians (Amphibia class) that alternate water and land; reptiles (class Reptilia) of scaled skin and cold blood; feathered birds (birds), flying or not; and mammals (Mammalia class), which feed their young with milk.
See also: Invertebrate animals
Examples of vertebrate animals
Some simple examples of vertebrate animals are:
- Terrestrial mammals, such as dogs, cats, elephants, lions, giraffes, pumas, hyenas, wolves, camels, sheep, horses, rhinos, etc.
- Primates and apes, such as orangutans, chimpanzees, gorillas, spider monkeys and the human being himself.
- Bone fish, such as sea bream, cod, sardines, swordfish, catfish, toad fish, tuna, etc.
- Cartilaginous fish, such as shark or stingray.
- Aquatic mammals, such as dolphins, whales, seals or sea lions.
- Birds of all kinds, such as vultures, hawks, toucans, owls, crows, hummingbirds, parrots, macaws (parrots), woodpeckers, kingfishers, pelicans, etc.
- Amphibians such as toads and frogs, salamanders or newts.
- Reptiles such as snakes, boas, crocodiles, alligators, turtles, lizards, iguanas.