Vertebrates, which include fishes, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals, all share a vertebral column, or a chain of bony elements (vertebrae) that run along the dorsal surface from head to tail and form the main skeletal axis of the body. The vertebral column surrounds and more or less replaces the notochord as the chief "stiffener" of the body in locomotion. Some characteristics shared by most or all vertebrates (in addition to those traits shared among all chordates) include the following (after Hickman, 1994):
Phil Myers (author), Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
To cite this page: Myers, P. 2001. "Vertebrata" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed May 24, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/accounts/Vertebrata/
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