Asked Apr 7, 2019

What characteristic defines a chordate who is also a vertebrate? 


Expert Answer

Step 1

The animal kingdom is divided into two phyla- Chordata and non-chordata. The phylum Chordata includes three subphyla, which are Vertebrata (Craniata), Cephalochordata (lancelets), and Urochordata (tunicate). The vertebrata includes 5 classes,which are fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.

Step 2
  1. Notochord- It is the most distinct feature of the chordates. It is a rigid but flexible rod-like structure which contains large-sized cells whose vacuoles are filled with fluid. A vertebral column replaces the notochord during the later developmental stage in the vertebrates. Thus, a vertebral column may or may not be present in all chordates, but will always be present in the vertebrates.
  2. Nerve cord- A dorsal hollow nerve cord is found in all the chordates, especially in the vertebrates, which is retained throughout their lifetime. It is derived from the ectodermal cells of the embryo. In addition to this, the vertebrates also possess a brain as a part of their central nervous system.
  3. Tail- All the chordates possess tail beyond their anal region during the embryonic stage of development. The tail is lost in the humans, which is marked by the coccyx region (tail-bone) of the vertebral column. Like the other members of the chordates, the human embryo contains a tail, which gets absorbed as the development proceeds to the fetal ...

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Anatomy of Chordates

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