All vertebrates are chordates, but not all chordates are vertebrates! This exercise provides a view of several different vertebrate body designs. Please refer to your laboratory manual for the vertebrate dissection procedures.
Vertebrate characteristics include:
(1) An integument that has two distinctive layers (epidermis and dermis). Vertebrates display multiple modifications of their skin, such as glands, scales, feathers, claws, horns, and hair.
(2) An endoskeleton made of cartilage and or bone.
(3) Muscles that attach to their internal skeleton for support and movement.
(4) A ventral heart with two to four chambers and a closed circulatory system.
(5) A well-developed coelom.
(6) Kidneys that are used to filter blood and excrete urine or a similar compound.
(7) A well-developed brain that is divided into five vesicles.
(8) Ten to twelve cranial nerves.
(9) An endocrine system that produces hormones to regulate homeostasis.
(10) A reproductive body design that is usually dioecious (bodies with separate sexes).