vertebrateˈvɜr tə brɪt, -ˌbreɪt
vertebrate, craniate (adj)
animals having a bony or cartilaginous skeleton with a segmented spinal column and a large brain enclosed in a skull or cranium
having a backbone or spinal column
"fishes and amphibians and reptiles and birds and mammals are verbetrate animals"
An animal having a backbone.
Having a backbone.
Vertebrates are animals that are members of the subphylum Vertebrata. Vertebrates include the overwhelming majority of the phylum Chordata, with currently about 64,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fish, bony fish, sharks and rays, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. Extant vertebrates range in size from the frog species Paedophryne amauensis, at as little as 7.7 mm, to the blue whale, at up to 33 m. Vertebrates make up about 4% 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. Hagfish do, however, possess a cranium. For this reason, the vertebrate subphylum is sometimes referred to as "Craniata" when discussing morphology. Molecular analysis since 1992 has suggested that the hagfish are most closely related to lampreys, and so also are vertebrates in a monophyletic sense. Others consider them a sister group of vertebrates in the common taxon of Craniata.