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Comparative Anatomy of

Vertebrates
Characteristics and Origin

Prepared by Mr. Ian Kenneth M. Cabrera


Objectives
• To identify the three important characteristics of
chordates and the over-all characteristics of
vertebrates.
• To know the features, i.e. structure and form, of lower
chordates.
• To describe similar morphological characteristics
between lower and higher vertebrates.
• To know the taxonomic hierarchy and classification
of vertebrates.
General Chordate Characteristics

• The wall of the pharynx of the embryo or adult is


pierced by openings, the gill slits or pharyngeal slits
which probably served as a food catching device.
• A notochord is present in the embryo or adult. The
notochord is a rod lying dorsal to the intestine,
extending anteroposteriorly, and serves as a support.
• The presence of a dorsally located, hollow neural
tube containing a single continuous cavity.
Characteristics of Vertebrates
• The morphological characteristics of vertebrates are
the following:
• Animals with bilateral symmetry, internal heteronomous
segmentation, and high degree of cephalization.
• With two pairs of locomatory appendages in the form of fins or
limbs.
• Skin separable from the rest of the body wall commonly producing
protective structures such as scales, feathers, hair, etc.
• With an internal skeleton made up of either cartilage or bone
consisting of a skull and gill supports in the head, vertebral
column, ribs and breastbone in the trunk and support for the
appendages.
• Digestive tract giving rise to two equally important digestive
glands, the liver and the pancreas.
• Nervous system consisting of the brain, much enlarged, encased
within the skull, and the spinal cord protected by a highly
metameric vertebral column.
• Head with three pairs of senese organs: eyes, ears and nose.
• The pharynx is intimately connected with the respiratory tract.
• Heart always ventral in the body.
• Genital and excretory systems closely related. The excretory ducts
generally serving as genital ducts.
• Viscera supported by mesenteries.
• Circulatory system generally closed, always with a median dorsal
artery, the aorta, and with one or two portal systems.
Esssential Features of Lower Chordates

Phylum Hemichordata
• Members are marine, worm-like
organisms.
• With apparent links to chordates
and to echinoderms
• Chordate features include the
presence of pharyngeal slits and
the embryonic invagination of the
neural tube.
• Some species pass through a
small planktonic stage called
tornaria larva which is equipped
with cilia running along its body
surface and has a simple gut.
These features resemble that of
echinoderms’ auricularia larva.
 The body is divided into 3 distinct regions: proboscis, collar, and trunk.
- the proboscis is the elongated, conical structure located at the
anterior end of the animal. It is used for burrowing into the sand.

- the collar is a band encircling the body posterior to the proboscis.


The proboscis is attached to the collar by a slender proboscis stalk. A
permanently open mouth which leads to a buccal cavity is located
ventrally.

- the trunk is further divided into 3 regions: the branchiogenital (also


known as thoracic region), forms the first part of the trunk and contains the
gonads; the hepatic region, where the intestines are located and usually
bears a paired series of lateral pouches called hepatic caeca; the abdominal
region, forms the last portion of the trunk which bears the remainder of the
tubular intestine and terminates at an opening , the anus.
Subphylum Urochordata
• Generally show all chordate
characteristics at some point in their
life histories: notochord, pharyngeal
slits, tubular nerve cord, and even the
presence of a post-anal tail especially
during their larval stage.
• All species are marine. Adult forms
are sessile, juvenile form – free
swimming.
• They are specialists at feeding
suspended matter.
• The name literally means “tail
backstring”, a reference to the
notochord.
• Also known as tunicates, referring to
the outer body covering of the animal
in the sessile, adult form – tunic (also
known as test).
 The lower end of the animal serves
as an attachment to any substrate on
the ocean floor.
 Hardly recognizable as an animal.
 The opposite end bears two openings,
the siphons.
- the upper siphon, oral or
incurrent siphon; the lower one, atrial
or excurrent siphon.
 Tunic or test, the outer covering is
secreted by the underlying epithelial
tissue
 Some tunicates have transparent tests.
Subphylum
Cephalochordata
• Occurs in warm temperature and
tropical seas.
• Body is slender and fish-like,
pointed at each end and
compressed laterally.
• The more blunt end is the anterior
and the more pointed end is the
posterior.
• Ventral portion of the head – oral
hood – expanded membrane,
enclosing a cavity the vestibule. At
the bottom of which is the mouth
located.
• Tentacles or cirri – form the borders
of the oral hood.
• Metapleural folds or lateral fins –
extends posteriorly from the oral
hood forming the ventro-lateral fin of
the animal.
• Muscle segments or myotomes –
longitudinal V-shaped muscles visible
through the transparent epidermis.
Each separated from one another by
connective tissue partitions –
myosepta.
*note: other internal structures and cross-section of the animal will be dealt in the
laboratory.
Classification of Vertebrates
• Subphylum Vertebrata or Craniata. all chordates with an endoskeleton consisting of
cartilage or bone or a combination of both.
Fish and fish-like animals
Superclass Agnatha. are fish-like animals with no jaws with poorly
developed fins
Class Myxini. the hagfishes
Class Cephalaspidomorpha
Order Petromyzoniformes. the lampreys.
Superclass Gnathostomata. fish with jaws and apparently a full-sized hyoid
gill slits, with pectoral and pelvic fins, body covered with scales, with cartilage or
bone as skeleton. Includes some extinct species
Class Placodermi. extinct fish with jaws.
Class Chondrichthyes
Subclass Elasmobranchii
Order Selachimorpha. Sharks.
Order Batidoidimorpha. Rays and skates.
Subclass Holocephali. The chimereas
Examples of lower forms of fishes.
from top (clockwise),
hagfishes, lampreys, and two
examples of extinct placoderms.
Class Chondrichthyes. From upper l-r. Great White shark, Ray-shark; from
bottom l-r. Hammer-head shark, skate.
Class Osteichthyes. The bony fishes. Skeleton partly or largely ossified, body clothed
in dermal scales or rhomboid plates, gills covered with bony operculum, with air or
gas bladders, nostrils double, no claspers.
Order Acipenseriformes. Sturgeons, paddlefishes
Order Lepisosteiformes. Gars.
Order Amiiformes. Bowfins
Superorder Dipnoi. The lungfishes.

Subclass Actinopterygii or Teleostomi.


Order Chondostrei
Order Holostei
Order Teleostei. Typical bony fishes.

Class Amphibia
Order Gymnophiona or Apoda. The coecilians or blindworms. Vermiform
amphibians without limbs or limb girdles. Vertebrae amphicoelus with persistent
notochord.
Order Urodela or Caudata. Newts and salamanders. Naked tailed amphibians,
with or without external gills, with two pairs of limbs.
Order Salientia or Anura. Frogs and toads. Naked, tailless amphibians, with
external gills, with typical vertebrae, caudal vertebrae fused into one elongated
piece, with two pairs of limbs.
Class Amphibia

top: Coecilian, a blindworm


middle: newts
bottom left: salamander, Salamendra
terrestris
bottom right: Yellow tree frogs
Class Reptilia. Cold-blooded aquatic or terrestrial tetrapods; naked, scaly or with bony
plates, breathing exclusively by lungs, skeleton completely ossified, heart with
sinus venosus, ventricles partially or completely divided by a partition, embryo
provided with embryonic membranes.
Subclass Anapsida
Order Testudinata
Suborder Chelonia. The turtles.

Superorder Lepidosauria.
Order Rhynchocephailia.
Order Squamata. Lizards and snakes. Long tailed reptiles covered with
scales, quadrate movable, teeth set in sockets, vertebrae usually procoelus,
abdominal ribs wanting or ruminary.
Suborder Lacertilia. The lizards. With limbs and limb girdles.
Suborder Ophidia. The snakes. Limb and limb girdles absent.

Superorder Archosauria. Skull diapsid with two temporal openings, tending to


bipedal gait, also includes flying forms, birds (Aves) stem from this group.
Order Crocodylia. Alligators, crocodiles and caimans. Large aquatic or
amphibous reptiles, with bony plates underneath horny skin thickenings, teeth in
sockets, ribs double-headed, heart with two ventricles.
Class Reptilia
Class Aves. The birds. Warm blooded, oviparous tetrapods with feathers; one
occipital condyle, forelimbs modified into wings, heart with two ventricles,
embryo with membranes.
Subclass Sauriurae
Infraclass Archeornirthes. The Archaeopteryx.
Infraclass Neornithes. Tail feathers arranged in a fan-like manner
around tail stump, metacarpals fused, teeth present only in extinct forms.
All present birds.
Superorder Palaeognathae. Ostritches, emus, rheas,
cassowaries, kiwis and other flightless birds.
Superorder Neognathae.
Order Falconiformes. Falcons, hawks
Order Galliformes. Grouse, pheasants
Order Sphenisciformes. Penguins
Order Anseriformes. Ducks, geese
Order Strigiformes. Owls
Order Psittaciformes. Parrots
Order Apodiformes. Hummingbirds
Class Mammalia. The mammals. Warm blooded; nearly always viviparous,
aquatic or terrestrial tetrapods clothed with hair, wool or fur, some naked
or with sparse hair; skull with zygomatic arch, two occipital condyles, teeth
in sockets, with muscular diaphragm, young nourished with milk secreted
by the mammary glands, embryo with membranes.

Subclass Prototheria. Oviparous mammals, mammary glands without


nipples, with cloaca.
Infraclass Monotremata. The monotremes, which includes
the duckbill platypuses and Echidna the spiny anteater.

Subclass Theria
Infraclass Metatheria, also Didelphia or Marsupialia.
Viviparous mammals with an abdominal skin pouch called a marsupium,
wherein the very fragile young are kept; teats opening into the marsupium,
no cloaca, vagina double.
Order Marsupialia. Kangaroos, wallabies, wombats,
koalas, and opossums, and others.
From clockwise (l-r): duckbilled platypus, kangaroo and koala
Infraclass Eutheria, Monodelphia or Placentalia. The placental mammals. Viviparous
mammals with an allantoic placenta, without marsupium, one vagina, no cloaca.
Order Edentata. The edentates. Anteaters and sloths.
Order Insectivora. The insectivores. Shrews and moles.
Order Chiroptera. The flying mammals. Bats
Order Dermoptera. Flying squirrels.
Order Primates. Lemurs, monkeys, apes and man
Order Carnivora. The carnivores
Suborder Fissipedia. The typical, terrestrial carnivores. Cats, lions,
tigers, dogs, wolves, civets, foxes, hyeanas, cheetahs, racoons, bears, otters,
weasels, etc.
Suborder Pinnipedia. Aquatic carnivores. Seals, sea lions, and
walruses.
Order Perrisodactyla. Odd-toed ungulates. Horses, asses, and zebras
Order Artiodactyla. Even-toed ungulates. Pigs, hippopotamuses, camels,
deers, antelopes, cattle, sheep, goats, giraffes, etc.
Order Proboscidea. The elephants.
Order Sirenia. Dugong, manatees
Order Rodentia. The rodents. Rats, mice, squirrels, prairie dogs, guinea pigs,
porcupines,etc.
Order Lagomorpha. Hares and rabbits.
• It should be noted that these are just some of the hundreds of
different classes, orders, suborders in the entire animal
kingdom.
• The groups that you have seen here are just the common ones,
most familiar to you, non-biology and non-zoology majors.
Hopefully.
• It should also be understood that you must be able to
differentiate each of the different groups you’ve seen here.
• Take note of the diversity of the animal world. As well as of
the Earth millions of years ago.
References

Hyman, L.H. Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy. The University Chicago


Press. 2nd ed. 1963.

Kardong, K. Vertebrates Comparative Anatomy, Function, and Evolution.


McGraw-Hill.2nd ed. 1998.
The End
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And have a nice day!

…sed libera nos a malo