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A cephalochordate (from Greek: κεφαλή kephalé, "head" and χορδή khordé, "chord") is an animal in the chordate subphylum, Cephalochordata. They are chordates with all 5 synapomorphies the characteristics all chordates have during the larval or adulthood stages. These synapomorphies include: notochord, dorsal hollow nerve cord, endostyle, pharynx and post-anal tail. Cephalochordates are represented in modern oceans by the Amphioxiformes
Amphioxiformes
(lancelets, also known as amphioxus). Along with its sister phylum, Urochordata, Cephalochordata can be classified as belonging to the taxon Protochordata. Characteristics of Cephalochordata include that they are segmented marine animals that possess elongated bodies with a notochord that extends the length of the body, extending from head to tail, persisting throughout the animal's life. The members of this subphylum are very small and have no hard parts, making their fossils difficult to find. Fossilized species have been found in very old rocks predating vertebrates. There is a famous fossil shale from the Middle Cambrian, the Burgess Shale
Burgess Shale
of British Columbia, which has yielded Pikaia
Pikaia
fossils. Recently, a different cephalochordate fossil (Yunnanozoon) has been found in south China. It dates to the early Cambrian
Cambrian
period, and is the earliest known fossil of the cephalochordate lineage. Members of this lineage have numerous gill slits, and have separate sexes. In a study performed by Blair and Hedges in 2005, they used protein sequence data of 75 different proteins to determine that cephalochordates diverged from the rest of the chordate subphylum around 891million years ago.[2] Phylogeny is based on a combination of studies of extinct[3] and extant[4] species.

Chordata

Cephalochordata

Pikaia
Pikaia
gracilens Walcott 1911

Leptocardii

Cathaymyrus
Cathaymyrus
Shu, Conway Morris & Zhang 1996

Acrania

Palaeobranchiostoma hamatotergum Oelofsen & Loock 1981

Branchiostomiformes

Asymmetron Peters 1876

Epigonichthys Andrews 1893

Branchiostoma
Branchiostoma
Costa 1834

Olfactores

Tunicates

Craniates

Feeding[edit]

Cephalochordate
Cephalochordate
oral hood--100X

Cephalochordates employ a filter feeding system to consume microorganisms. The oral hood serves as the entrance for food particles, and possesses buccal cirri, which assist in sifting out larger food particles before they enter the buccal cavity.[5] Epithelial cilia lining the mouth and pharynx form a specialized "wheel organ" situated at the dorsal and posterior end of the cavity. The motion of the cilia resembles the motion of a turning wheel, hence the organ's name,[5] and transports the captured food particles. Behind this organ is the velum, which acts as an internal filter before food enters the pharynx.[6] The food particles adhere to secreted mucus on the pharyngeal bars before being brought to the epibranchial groove on the dorsal side of the pharynx.[5] Following this, the food is transferred to the gut, and excess water is pumped from the pharynx through the pharyngeal slits. This excess water passes through the atriopore and is then excreted from the body.[6] References[edit]

^ Nielsen, C. (July 2012). "The authorship of higher chordate taxa". Zoologica Scripta. 41 (4): 435–436. doi:10.1111/j.1463-6409.2012.00536.x.  ^ Blair, Jaime E.; Hedges, S. Blair (2005-11-01). "Molecular Phylogeny and Divergence Times of Deuterostome
Deuterostome
Animals". Molecular Biology and Evolution. 22 (11): 2275–2284. doi:10.1093/molbev/msi225. ISSN 0737-4038.  ^ Haaramo, Mikko. Cephalochordata – lancelets. Retrieved 2013-10-22.  ^ Kon, T.; et al. (July 2006). "Hidden ancient diversification in the circumtropical lancelet Asymmetron lucayanum complex". Marine Biology. 149 (4): 875–883. doi:10.1007/s00227-006-0271-y.  ^ a b c V., Kardong, Kenneth (2015-01-01). Vertebrates : comparative anatomy, function, evolution. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780078023026. OCLC 910511685.  ^ a b Fishbeck, D. Sebastiani, A. (2015). Comparative Anatomy: manual of dissection. Morton Publisher Company. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)

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Extant chordate classes

Kingdom Animalia (unranked) Bilateria Superphylum Deuterostomia

Cephalochordata

Leptocardii
Leptocardii
(lancelets)

O l f a c t o r e s

Urochordata
Urochordata
(tunicates)

Ascidiacea
Ascidiacea
(sea squirts) Appendicularia (larvaceans) Thaliacea
Thaliacea
(pyrosomes, salps, doliolids)

Craniata (Vertebrates + Myxini) (fish + Tetrapods)

Agnatha
Agnatha
(jawless fish)

Cyclostomata

Myxini (hagfish) Hyperoartia
Hyperoartia
(lampreys)

Gnathostomata (jawed vertebrates)

Chondrichthyes
Chondrichthyes
(cartilaginous fish: sharks, rays, chimaeras)

Osteichthyes (bony fish)

Actinopterygii
Actinopterygii
(ray-finned fish)

Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish)

Actinistia
Actinistia
(coelacanths)¹

R h i p i d i s t i a

Dipnoi (lungfish)¹

T e t r a p o d a

Amphibia (amphibians)

A m n i o t a

Synapsida

Mammalia (mammals)

Sauropsida (withal Diapsida)

Lepidosauria

Rhynchocephalia
Rhynchocephalia
(tuatara)² Squamata
Squamata
(scaled reptiles)²

Archelosauria

Testudines (turtles)²,³

Archosauria

Crocodilia
Crocodilia
(crocodilians)² Aves (birds)

¹subclasses of Sarcopterygii ²orders of class Reptilia (reptiles) ³traditionally placed in Anapsida italic are paraphyletic groups

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q123252 ADW: Cephalochordata EoL: 1585 EPPO: 1CEPHQ Fossilworks: 273394 iNaturalist: 129726 ITIS: 914170 NCBI: 7735 WoRMS: 1824

Authority control

GND: 41793

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