Vertebrates comprise all species of animals within the subphylum Vertebrata (chordates with backbones). Vertebrates represent the overwhelming majority of the phylum Chordata, with currently about 69,963 species described. Vertebrates include such groups as the following:
- jawless fishes
- jawed vertebrates, which include the cartilaginous fishes (sharks, rays, and ratfish)
- tetrapods, which include amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals
- bony fishes
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- So vertebrates like us are unusually huge and unusually fragile, have relatively simple life cycles, and are built from the least common type of cell. The fact that we are not the standard mode of life is important to remember.
- Sterelny, K., & Griffiths, P. E. (1999). Sex and Death: An Introduction to Philosophy of Biology. Science and Its Conceptual Foundations series. University Of Chicago Press.