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Cephalochordata
A cephalochordate (from Greek: κεφαλή ''kephalé'', "head" and χορδή ''khordé'', "chord") is an animal in the chordate subphylum, Cephalochordata. They are commonly called lancelets. Cephalochordates possess 5 synapomorphies, or primary characteristics, that all chordates have at some point during their larval or adulthood stages. These 5 synapomorphies include a notochord, dorsal hollow nerve cord, endostyle, pharyngeal slits, and a post-anal tail (see chordate for descriptions of each). The fine structure of the cephalochordate notochord is best known for the Bahamas lancelet, ''Asymmetron lucayanum''. Cephalochordates are represented in modern oceans by the Amphioxiformes and are commonly found in warm temperate and tropical seas worldwide. With the presence of a notochord, adult amphioxus are able to swim and tolerate the tides of coastal environments, but they are most likely to be found within the sediment of these communities. Cephalochordates are segmented m ...
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Chordate
A chordate () is an animal of the phylum Chordata (). All chordates possess, at some point during their larval or adult stages, five synapomorphies, or primary physical characteristics, that distinguish them from all the other taxa. These five synapomorphies include a notochord, dorsal hollow nerve cord, endostyle or thyroid, pharyngeal slits, and a post-anal tail. The name “chordate” comes from the first of these synapomorphies, the notochord, which plays a significant role in chordate structure and movement. Chordates are also bilaterally symmetric, have a coelom, possess a circulatory system, and exhibit metameric segmentation. In addition to the morphological characteristics used to define chordates, analysis of genome sequences has identified two conserved signature indels (CSIs) in their proteins: cyclophilin-like protein and mitochondrial inner membrane protease ATP23, which are exclusively shared by all vertebrates, tunicates and cephalochordates. These CSIs pro ...
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Lancelet
The lancelets ( or ), also known as amphioxi (singular: amphioxus ), consist of some 30 to 35 species of "fish-like" benthic filter feeding chordates in the order Amphioxiformes. They are the modern representatives of the subphylum Cephalochordata. Lancelets closely resemble 530-million-year-old ''Pikaia'', fossils of which are known from the Burgess Shale. Zoologists are interested in them because they provide evolutionary insight into the origins of vertebrates. Lancelets contain many organs and organ systems that are closely related to those of modern fish, but in more primitive form. Therefore, they provide a number of examples of possible evolutionary exaptation. For example, the gill-slits of lancelets are used for feeding only, and not for respiration. The circulatory system carries food throughout their body, but does not have red blood cells or hemoglobin for transporting oxygen. Lancelet genomes hold clues about the early evolution of vertebrates: by comparing genes fro ...
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Leptocardii
The lancelets ( or ), also known as amphioxi (singular: amphioxus ), consist of some 30 to 35 species of "fish-like" benthic filter feeding chordates in the order Amphioxiformes. They are the modern representatives of the subphylum Cephalochordata. Lancelets closely resemble 530-million-year-old ''Pikaia'', fossils of which are known from the Burgess Shale. Zoologists are interested in them because they provide evolutionary insight into the origins of vertebrates. Lancelets contain many organs and organ systems that are closely related to those of modern fish, but in more primitive form. Therefore, they provide a number of examples of possible evolutionary exaptation. For example, the gill-slits of lancelets are used for feeding only, and not for respiration. The circulatory system carries food throughout their body, but does not have red blood cells or hemoglobin for transporting oxygen. Lancelet genomes hold clues about the early evolution of vertebrates: by comparing genes from ...
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Lancelet Anatomy
The lancelets ( or ), also known as amphioxi (singular: amphioxus ), consist of some 30 to 35 species of "fish-like" benthic filter feeding chordates in the order Amphioxiformes. They are the modern representatives of the subphylum Cephalochordata. Lancelets closely resemble 530-million-year-old ''Pikaia'', fossils of which are known from the Burgess Shale. Zoologists are interested in them because they provide evolutionary insight into the origins of vertebrates. Lancelets contain many organs and organ systems that are closely related to those of modern fish, but in more primitive form. Therefore, they provide a number of examples of possible evolutionary exaptation. For example, the gill-slits of lancelets are used for feeding only, and not for respiration. The circulatory system carries food throughout their body, but does not have red blood cells or hemoglobin for transporting oxygen. Lancelet genomes hold clues about the early evolution of vertebrates: by comparing genes from ...
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Chordata
A chordate () is an animal of the phylum Chordata (). All chordates possess, at some point during their larval or adult stages, five synapomorphies, or primary physical characteristics, that distinguish them from all the other taxa. These five synapomorphies include a notochord, dorsal hollow nerve cord, endostyle or thyroid, pharyngeal slits, and a post-anal tail. The name “chordate” comes from the first of these synapomorphies, the notochord, which plays a significant role in chordate structure and movement. Chordates are also bilaterally symmetric, have a coelom, possess a circulatory system, and exhibit metameric segmentation. In addition to the morphological characteristics used to define chordates, analysis of genome sequences has identified two conserved signature indels (CSIs) in their proteins: cyclophilin-like protein and mitochondrial inner membrane protease ATP23, which are exclusively shared by all vertebrates, tunicates and cephalochordates. These CSIs pr ...
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Amphioxiformes
The lancelets ( or ), also known as amphioxi (singular: amphioxus ), consist of some 30 to 35 species of "fish-like" benthic filter feeding chordates in the order Amphioxiformes. They are the modern representatives of the subphylum Cephalochordata. Lancelets closely resemble 530-million-year-old ''Pikaia'', fossils of which are known from the Burgess Shale. Zoologists are interested in them because they provide evolutionary insight into the origins of vertebrates. Lancelets contain many organs and organ systems that are closely related to those of modern fish, but in more primitive form. Therefore, they provide a number of examples of possible evolutionary exaptation. For example, the gill-slits of lancelets are used for feeding only, and not for respiration. The circulatory system carries food throughout their body, but does not have red blood cells or hemoglobin for transporting oxygen. Lancelet genomes hold clues about the early evolution of vertebrates: by comparing genes from ...
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Chordate
A chordate () is an animal of the phylum Chordata (). All chordates possess, at some point during their larval or adult stages, five synapomorphies, or primary physical characteristics, that distinguish them from all the other taxa. These five synapomorphies include a notochord, dorsal hollow nerve cord, endostyle or thyroid, pharyngeal slits, and a post-anal tail. The name “chordate” comes from the first of these synapomorphies, the notochord, which plays a significant role in chordate structure and movement. Chordates are also bilaterally symmetric, have a coelom, possess a circulatory system, and exhibit metameric segmentation. In addition to the morphological characteristics used to define chordates, analysis of genome sequences has identified two conserved signature indels (CSIs) in their proteins: cyclophilin-like protein and mitochondrial inner membrane protease ATP23, which are exclusively shared by all vertebrates, tunicates and cephalochordates. These CSIs pro ...
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Vertebrata
Vertebrates () comprise all animal taxa within the subphylum Vertebrata () (chordates with backbones), including all mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Vertebrates represent the overwhelming majority of the phylum Chordata, with currently about 69,963 species described. Vertebrates comprise such groups as the following: * jawless fish, which include hagfish and lampreys * jawed vertebrates, which include: ** cartilaginous fish (sharks, rays, and ratfish) ** bony vertebrates, which include: *** ray-fins (the majority of living bony fish) *** lobe-fins, which include: **** coelacanths and lungfish **** tetrapods (limbed vertebrates) Extant vertebrates range in size from the frog species ''Paedophryne amauensis'', at as little as , to the blue whale, at up to . Vertebrates make up less than five percent of all described animal species; the rest are invertebrates, which lack vertebral columns. The vertebrates traditionally include the hagfish, which do not h ...
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Deuterostome
Deuterostomia (; in Greek) are animals typically characterized by their anus forming before their mouth during embryonic development. The group's sister clade is Protostomia, animals whose digestive tract development is more varied. Some examples of deuterostomes include vertebrates (and thus humans), sea stars, and crinoids. In deuterostomy, the developing embryo's first opening (the blastopore) becomes the anus, while the mouth is formed at a different site later on. This was initially the group's distinguishing characteristic, but deuterostomy has since been discovered among protostomes as well. This group is also known as enterocoelomates, because their coelom develops through enterocoely. The three major clades of deuterostomes are Chordata (e.g. vertebrates), Echinodermata (e.g. starfish), and Hemichordata (e.g. acorn worms). Together with Protostomia and their out-group Xenacoelomorpha, these compose the Bilateria, animals with bilateral symmetry and three germ layers ...
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Craniates
A craniate is a member of the Craniata (sometimes called the Craniota), a proposed clade of chordate animals with a skull of hard bone or cartilage. Living representatives are the Myxini (hagfishes), Hyperoartia (including lampreys), and the much more numerous Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates).Campbell & Reece 2005 p. 676 Formerly distinct from vertebrates by including hagfish, molecular and anatomical research in the 21st century has led to the reinclusion of hagfish as vertebrates, making living craniates synonymous with living vertebrates. The clade was conceived largely on the basis of the Hyperoartia (lampreys and kin) being more closely related to the Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates) than the Myxini (hagfishes). This, combined with an apparent lack of vertebral elements within the Myxini, suggested that the Myxini were descended from a more ancient lineage than the vertebrates, and that the skull developed before the vertebral column. The clade was thus composed of the ...
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Olfactores
Olfactores is a clade within the Chordata that comprises the Tunicata ( Urochordata) and the Vertebrata (sometimes referred to as Craniata). Olfactores represent the overwhelming majority of the phylum Chordata, as the Cephalochordata are the only chordates not included in the clade. This clade is defined by a more advanced olfactory system which, in the immediate vertebrate generation, caused the appearance of nostrils. A rudimentary neural crest is present in tunicates, implying its presence in the olfactores ancestor also, as vertebrates have a true neural crest. For this reason, they are also known as Cristozoa. Olfactores hypothesis While the hypothesis that Cephalochordata is a sister taxon to Craniata is of long standing and was once widely accepted—likely influenced by significant tunicate morphological apomorphies from other chordates, with cephalochordates even being nicknamed ‘honorary vertebrates’—studies since 2006 analyzing large sequencing datasets st ...
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Branchiostoma Lanceolatum
''Branchiostoma lanceolatum'', the European lancelet or Mediterranean amphioxus, is a lancelet in the subphylum Cephalochordata. It is a marine invertebrate with a notochord but no backbone and is used as a model organism to study the evolutionary development of vertebrates. Anatomy ''Branchiostoma lanceolatum'' has an elongated body, flattened laterally and pointed at both ends. A stiffening rod of tightly packed cells, the notochord, extends the whole length of the body. Unlike vertebrates, the notochord persists in the adult, in form of simple dorsal neural tube slightly thickened in the anterior part (the cerebral vesicle). Above it is a nerve cord with a single frontal eye. The mouth is on the underside of the body and is surrounded by a tuft of 20 or 30 cirri or slender sensory appendages. The gut runs just below the notochord from the mouth to the anus, in front of the tail. There is a flap-like, vertical fin surrounding the pointed tail. Gas exchange takes place as wat ...
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