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19.1: Overview of Vertebrates

Created by: CK-12

Lesson 19.1: True or False

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Write true if the statement is true or false if the statement is false.

_____ 1. Like all chordates, vertebrates have a notochord, a dorsal hollow nerve cord, gills, and a post-anal tail.

_____ 2. The main distinguishing feature of vertebrates is their backbone.

_____ 3. Bone is a tough tissue that contains a protein called collagen.

_____ 4. Cartilage is a hard tissue that consists of a collagen matrix, or framework, filled in with minerals such as calcium.

_____ 5. Kidneys are organs that filter blood from waste.

_____ 6. Vivipary occurs in almost all mammals.

_____ 7. The immune system is the organ system that defends the body from pathogens.

_____ 8. There are about 50,000 vertebrate species.

_____ 9. Mammals and birds both evolved from reptile-like ancestors.

_____ 10. Amphibians evolved from reptiles, which evolved from fish.

_____ 11. The earliest vertebrates were jawless fish.

_____ 12. Reptiles were the first vertebrates to live on land.

_____ 13. The earliest vertebrates lived between 500 and 600 million years ago.

_____ 14. The first vertebrates to lay amniotic eggs were amphibians.

_____ 15. Endothermy means regulating body temperature from the outside through behavioral changes.

Lesson 19.1: Critical Reading

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Read these passages from the text and answer the questions that follow.

Characteristics of Vertebrates

The main distinguishing feature of vertebrates is their vertebral column, or backbone. The backbone runs from the head to the tail along the dorsal (top) side of the body. The vertebral column is the core of the endoskeleton. It allows a vertebrate to hold its shape. It also houses and protects the spinal (nerve) cord that passes through it. The vertebral column is made up of repeating units called vertebrae (singular, vertebra). In many species, there are shock-absorbing discs between the vertebrae to cushion them during movement.

Other Vertebrate Traits

There are several additional traits found in virtually all vertebrates.

  • Vertebrates have a system of muscles attached to the endoskeleton to enable movement. Muscles control movement by alternately contracting (shortening) and relaxing (lengthening). Generally, muscles work together in opposing pairs.
  • Vertebrates have a closed circulatory system with a heart. Blood is completely contained within blood vessels that carry the blood throughout the body. The heart is divided into chambers that work together to pump blood. There are between two and four chambers in the vertebrate heart. With more chambers, there is more oxygen in the blood and more vigorous pumping action.
  • Most vertebrates have skin covered with scales, feathers, fur, or hair. These features serve a variety of functions, such as waterproofing and insulating the body.
  • Vertebrates have an excretory system that includes a pair of kidneys. Kidneys are organs that filter wastes from blood so they can be excreted from the body.
  • Vertebrates have an endocrine system of glands that secrete hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers that control many body functions.
  • Vertebrates have an adaptive immune system. The immune system is the organ system that defends the body from pathogens and other causes of disease. Being adaptive means that the immune system can learn to recognize specific pathogens. Then it can produce tailor-made chemicals called antibodies to attack them. This allows the immune system to launch a rapid attack whenever the pathogens invade the body again.
  • Vertebrates have a centralized nervous system. The nervous system consists of a brain in the head region. It also includes a long spinal cord that runs from the brain to the tail end of the backbone. Long nerve fibers extend from the spinal cord to muscles and organs throughout the body.

Questions

1. Describe the functions of the vertebral column.

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2. List five vertebrate traits other than the backbone.

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3. Describe the vertebrate circulatory system.

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4. What is the immune system?

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5. Describe the vertebrate nervous system.

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Lesson 19.1: Multiple Choice

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Circle the letter of the correct choice.

  1. The main distinguishing feature of vertebrates is their
    1. fur or hair.
    2. backbone.
    3. cranium.
    4. immune system.
  2. Which statement about cartilage and bone is correct?
    1. An endoskeleton made of bone rather than cartilage allows animals to grow larger and heavier.
    2. Cartilage is less flexible than bone, but stronger.
    3. Cartilage is a hard tissue that consists of a collagen matrix, or framework, filled in with minerals such as calcium.
    4. A distinguishing feature of vertebrates is their exoskeleton made of bone or cartilage.
  3. Traits of vertebrates include
    1. an endoskeleton made of bone or cartilage.
    2. an excretory system that includes a pair of kidneys.
    3. a system of muscles that enable movement.
    4. all of the above.
  4. Most mammals reproduce using which strategy?
    1. ovovivipary
    2. vivipary
    3. ovipary
    4. placental development
  5. The nine different classes of vertebrates include
    1. four fish classes and amphibians, reptiles, birds, whales and mammals.
    2. four fish classes and amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and primates.
    3. five fish classes and amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.
    4. five fish classes and amphibians, reptiles, monkeys, and mammals.
  6. The first vertebrate class to evolve was the
    1. hagfish class.
    2. lamprey class.
    3. mammalian class.
    4. amphibian class.
  7. The first vertebrates on land were the
    1. reptiles.
    2. birds.
    3. lobe-finned fish.
    4. amphibians.
  8. Which of the following statements is correct concerning endothermy? (1) Mammals and birds evolved endothermy. (2) All vertebrates are endothermic. (3) Endothermy is regulating body temperature from the inside using metabolic or other physical changes. (4) Endothermy is regulating body temperature from the outside through behavioral changes.
    1. 1 and 3
    2. 2 and 4
    3. 1 and 4
    4. 2 and 3

Lesson 19.1: Vocabulary I

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Match the vocabulary word with the proper definition.

Definitions

_____ 1. regulating body temperature from the outside through behavioral changes

_____ 2. main distinguishing feature of vertebrates; the backbone

_____ 3. regulating body temperature from the inside through metabolic or other physical changes

_____ 4. a hard tissue that consists of a collagen matrix filled in with minerals such as calcium

_____ 5. a tough tissue that contains a protein called collagen

_____ 6. the development and nourishment of an embryo within the mother’s body

_____ 7. the development of an embryo inside an egg within the mother’s body until it hatches

_____ 8. the skull

_____ 9. the development of an embryo within an egg outside the mother’s body

_____ 10. repeating units that make up the vertebral column

_____ 11. organs that filter wastes from blood

_____ 12. divided into chambers that work together to pump blood

Terms

a. bone

b. cartilage

c. cranium

d. ectothermy

e. endothermy

f. heart

g. kidney

h. ovipary

i. ovovivipary

j. vertebrae

k. vertebral column

l. vivipary

Lesson 19.1: Vocabulary II

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Fill in the blank with the appropriate term.

1. The main distinguishing feature of vertebrates is their ____________.

2. There are about ____________ vertebrate species.

3. The vertebral column is made up of repeating units called ____________.

4. Ectothermy means regulating body ____________ from the outside through behavioral changes.

5. Vertebrates have a ____________ circulatory system with a heart.

6. ____________ are organs that filter wastes from blood so they can be excreted from the body.

7. Most vertebrates have ____________ covered with scales, feathers, fur, or hair.

8. ____________ refers to the development and nourishment of an embryo within the mother’s body.

9. Vertebrates have a centralized nervous system that consists of a ____________ in the head region.

10. The first ____________ evolved from an amphibian ancestor.

11. ____________ and birds both evolved from reptile-like ancestors.

12. ____________ means regulating body temperature from the inside through metabolic or other physical changes.

Lesson 19.1: Critical Writing

Name___________________ Class______________ Date________

Thoroughly answer the question below. Use appropriate academic vocabulary and clear and complete sentences.

Describe the order of vertebrate evolution.

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