Vertebrates

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Mammuthus columbi
Mammuthus columbi
© 2005 N. Lindsley-Griffin, University of Nebraska State Museum

Canis latrans
Canis latrans
© 2005 The Virtual Fossil Museum


Equus scotti
© 2006 Eric Scott, San Bernardino County Museum

What are Vertebrates? Vertebrates, which include fish, birds, mammals, and more, are a very diverse group of animals. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the 8 millimeter-long goby (fish) to Argentinosaurus, a dinosaur that was 42 meters long. They live in all kinds of habitats, from the deep sea to the air, and from the tropics to the arctic. Some just have skin, but others have hair, feathers, scales, or other coverings. Vertebrates are chordates that have a backbone, and their fossil record extends back to the Cambrian.

Note: Their chordate relatives are discussed in Hemichordates and Chordates.

First known fossil occurrence: Cambrian.

Last known fossil occurrence: Quaternary. This group has living relatives.

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