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Craniata
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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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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Vertebrate
Vertebrates () comprise all animal taxon, taxa within the subphylum Vertebrata () (chordates with vertebral column, 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: * Agnatha, jawless fish, which include hagfish and lampreys * Gnathostomata, jawed vertebrates, which include: ** Chondrichthyes, cartilaginous fish (sharks, Batoidea, rays, and Chimaeriformes, ratfish) ** Euteleostomi, bony vertebrates, which include: *** Actinopterygii, ray-fins (the majority of living Osteichthyes, bony fish) *** lobe-fins, which include: **** coelacanths and lungfish **** tetrapods (limbed vertebrates) Extant taxon, 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 a ...
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Vertebrate
Vertebrates () comprise all animal taxon, taxa within the subphylum Vertebrata () (chordates with vertebral column, 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: * Agnatha, jawless fish, which include hagfish and lampreys * Gnathostomata, jawed vertebrates, which include: ** Chondrichthyes, cartilaginous fish (sharks, Batoidea, rays, and Chimaeriformes, ratfish) ** Euteleostomi, bony vertebrates, which include: *** Actinopterygii, ray-fins (the majority of living Osteichthyes, bony fish) *** lobe-fins, which include: **** coelacanths and lungfish **** tetrapods (limbed vertebrates) Extant taxon, 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 a ...
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Agnatha
Agnatha (, Ancient Greek 'without jaws') is an infraphylum of jawless fish in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, consisting of both present ( cyclostomes) and extinct (conodonts and ostracoderms) species. Among recent animals, cyclostomes are sister to all vertebrates with jaws, known as gnathostomes. Recent molecular data, both from rRNA and from mtDNA as well as embryological data, strongly supports the hypothesis that living agnathans, the cyclostomes, are monophyletic. The oldest fossil agnathans appeared in the Cambrian, and two groups still survive today: the lampreys and the hagfish, comprising about 120 species in total. Hagfish are considered members of the subphylum Vertebrata, because they secondarily lost vertebrae; before this event was inferred from molecular and developmental data, the group Craniata was created by Linnaeus (and is still sometimes used as a strictly morphological descriptor) to reference hagfish plus vertebrates. While a few scient ...
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Hyperoartia
Hyperoartia or Petromyzontida is a disputed group of vertebrates that includes the modern lampreys and their fossil relatives. Examples of hyperoartians from early in their fossil record are '' Endeiolepis'' and '' Euphanerops'' (which possessed a calcified branchial basket), fish-like animals with hypocercal tails that lived during the Late Devonian Period. Some paleontologists still place these forms among the "ostracoderms" (jawless armored fishes) of the class Anaspida, but this is increasingly considered an artificial arrangement based on ancestral traits. Placement of this group among the jawless vertebrates is a matter of dispute. While today enough fossil diversity is known to make a close relationship among the "ostracoderms" unlikely, this has muddied the issue of the Hyperoartia's closest relatives. Traditionally the group was placed in a superclass Cyclostomata together with the Myxini (hagfishes). More recently, it has been proposed that the Myxini are more bas ...
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Keratin
Keratin () is one of a family of structural fibrous proteins also known as ''scleroproteins''. Alpha-keratin (α-keratin) is a type of keratin found in vertebrates. It is the key structural material making up scales, hair, nails, feathers, horns, claws, hooves, and the outer layer of skin among vertebrates. Keratin also protects epithelial cells from damage or stress. Keratin is extremely insoluble in water and organic solvents. Keratin monomers assemble into bundles to form intermediate filaments, which are tough and form strong unmineralized epidermal appendages found in reptiles, birds, amphibians, and mammals. Excessive keratinization participate in fortification of certain tissues such as in horns of cattle and rhinos, and armadillos' osteoderm. The only other biological matter known to approximate the toughness of keratinized tissue is chitin. Keratin comes in two types, the primitive, softer forms found in all vertebrates and harder, derived forms found only among saur ...
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Cyclostomata
Cyclostomi, often referred to as Cyclostomata , is a group of vertebrates that comprises the living jawless fishes: the lampreys and hagfishes. Both groups have jawless mouths with horny epidermal structures that function as teeth called ceratodontes, and branchial arches that are internally positioned instead of external as in the related jawed fishes. The name Cyclostomi means "round mouths". It was named by Joan Crockford-Beattie. Possible external relationships This taxon is often included in the paraphyletic superclass Agnatha, which also includes several groups of extinct armored fishes called ostracoderms. Most fossil agnathans, such as galeaspids, thelodonts, and osteostracans, are more closely related to vertebrates with jaws (called gnathostomes) than to cyclostomes. Cyclostomes seem to have split off before the evolution of dentine and bone, which are present in many fossil agnathans, including conodonts. Biologists disagree on whether cyclostomes ar ...
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Monophyly
In cladistics for a group of organisms, monophyly is the condition of being a clade—that is, a group of taxa composed only of a common ancestor (or more precisely an ancestral population) and all of its lineal descendants. Monophyletic groups are typically characterised by shared derived characteristics (synapomorphies), which distinguish organisms in the clade from other organisms. An equivalent term is holophyly. The word "mono-phyly" means "one-tribe" in Greek. Monophyly is contrasted with paraphyly and polyphyly as shown in the second diagram. A ''paraphyletic group'' consists of all of the descendants of a common ancestor minus one or more monophyletic groups. A '' polyphyletic group'' is characterized by convergent features or habits of scientific interest (for example, night-active primates, fruit trees, aquatic insects). The features by which a polyphyletic group is differentiated from others are not inherited from a common ancestor. These definitions have taken ...
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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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Class (biology)
In biological classification, class ( la, classis) is a taxonomic rank, as well as a taxonomic unit, a taxon, in that rank. It is a group of related taxonomic orders. Other well-known ranks in descending order of size are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, order, family, genus, and species, with class fitting between phylum and order. History The class as a distinct rank of biological classification having its own distinctive name (and not just called a ''top-level genus'' ''(genus summum)'') was first introduced by the French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort in his classification of plants that appeared in his ''Eléments de botanique'', 1694. Insofar as a general definition of a class is available, it has historically been conceived as embracing taxa that combine a distinct ''grade'' of organization—i.e. a 'level of complexity', measured in terms of how differentiated their organ systems are into distinct regions or sub-organs—with a distinct ''type'' of construction ...
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Placodermi
Placodermi (from Greek πλάξ 'plate' and δέρμα 'skin', literally 'plate-skinned') is a class of armoured prehistoric fish, known from fossils, which lived from the Silurian to the end of the Devonian period. Their head and thorax were covered by articulated armoured plates and the rest of the body was scaled or naked, depending on the species. Placoderms were among the first jawed fish; their jaws likely evolved from the first of their gill arches. Placoderms are thought to be paraphyletic, consisting of several distinct outgroups or sister taxa to all living jawed vertebrates, which originated among their ranks. In contrast, one 2016 analysis concluded that placodermi are likely monophyletic, though these analyses have been further dismissed with more transitional taxa between placoderms and modern gnathosthomes, solidifying their paraphyletic status. Placoderms were also the first fish to develop pelvic fins, the precursor to hindlimbs in tetrapods, as well as true ...
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