Vertebrate

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Fire Salamander, Saltwater Crocodile, Southern Cassowary, Black-and-rufous Giant Elephant Shrew, Ocean Sunfish

Vertebrates are members of the subphylum Vertebrata, chordates with backbones and spinal columns. About 58,000 species of vertebrates have been currently described.[2] Vertebrata is the largest subphylum of chordates, and contains many familiar groups of large land animals. Vertebrates are the animals from the groups of jawless fishes, bony fishes, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. Extant vertebrates range in size from the carp species Paedocypris, at as little as 7.9 mm (0.3 inch), to the Blue Whale, at up to 33 m (110 ft). Vertebrates make up about 5% of all described animal species; the rest are invertebrates, which lack backbones.

The vertebrates traditionally include the hagfish, which do not have proper vertebrae, though their closest living relatives, the lampreys, do have vertebrae.[3] For this reason, the vertebrate subphylum is sometimes referred to as "Craniata", as all members do possess a cranium.

Contents

Etymology

The word vertebrate derives from the Latin word vertebratus (Pliny), meaning joint of the spine.[4] It is closely related to the word vertebra, which refers to any of the bones or segments of the spinal column.[5]

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