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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ Like some small vertebrate that lived outside.
▪ Mosquitoes will feed on any vertebrate blood.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Vertebrate \Ver"te*brate\, n. (Zo["o]l.) One of the Vertebrata.


Vertebrate \Ver"te*brate\, Vertebrated \Ver"te*bra`ted\, a. [L. vertebratus.]

  1. (Anat.) Having a backbone, or vertebral column, containing the spinal marrow, as man, quadrupeds, birds, amphibia, and fishes.

  2. (Bot.) Contracted at intervals, so as to resemble the spine in animals.

  3. (Zo["o]l.) Having movable joints resembling vertebr[ae]; -- said of the arms ophiurans.

  4. (Zo["o]l.) Of or pertaining to the Vertebrata; -- used only in the form vertebrate.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"a vertebrate animal," 1826, from Latin vertebratus (Pliny), from vertebra "joint or articulation of the body, joint of the spine" (see vertebra). As an adjective also from 1826.


a. Having a backbone. n. An animal having a backbone.


adj. having a backbone or spinal column; "fishes and amphibians and reptiles and birds and mammals are verbetrate animals" [ant: invertebrate]


n. animals having a bony or cartilaginous skeleton with a segmented spinal column and a large brain enclosed in a skull or cranium [syn: craniate]


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 64,000 species described. Vertebrates include the jawless fish and the jawed vertebrates, which include the cartilaginous fish ( sharks and rays) and the bony fish. A bony fish clade known as the lobe-finned fishes is included with tetrapods, which are further divided into amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds. Extant vertebrates range in size from the frog species Paedophryne amauensis, at as little as , to the blue whale, at up to . Vertebrates make up less than five percent of all described animal species; the rest are invertebrates, which lack vertebral columns.

The vertebrates traditionally include the hagfish, which do not have proper vertebrae, though their closest living relatives, the lampreys, do. Hagfish do, however, possess a cranium. For this reason, the vertebrate subphylum is sometimes referred to as " Craniata" when discussing morphology. Molecular analysis since 1992 has suggested that the hagfish are most closely related to lampreys, and so also are vertebrates in a monophyletic sense. Others consider them a sister group of vertebrates in the common taxon of craniata.

Usage examples of "vertebrate".

The first period followed the separation of dinosaurs from their archosaur ancestors, which took place in the Late Triassic, when the earliest herrerasaurids and prosauropods dominated various other herbivorous and carnivorous vertebrates.

Examples of modem armored vertebrates are the turtles, armadillos, and pangolins, all relatively unsuccessful.

With the higher vertebrates it is periodical, or is resorted to for the satisfaction of a given want-- propagation of the species, migration, hunting, or mutual defence.

Vertebrate hosts serve as reservoirs which periodically reinoculate the nanobe into the external environment, increasing the chance of self-sustaining outbreaks.

Aunt Lindsay was Professor of Vertebrate Semiology at the University of Wisconsin, and Aunt Kym ran the only sensory deprivation spa in Madison.

Early in the boring the sandstone had given place to a vein of Comanchian limestone, full of minute fossil cephalopods, corals, echini, and spirifera, and with occasional suggestions of siliceous sponges and marine vertebrate bones - the latter probably of teleosts, sharks, and ganoids.

Early in the boring the sandstone had given place to a vein of Comanchian limestone, full of minute fossil cephalopods, corals, echini, and spirifera, and with occasional suggestions of siliceous sponges and marine vertebrate bones--the latter probably of teleosts, sharks, and ganoids.

In the normal development of the tadpole from the egg, as in all other vertebrate animals, the lens is formed from the outer skin or ectoderm of the head.

Almost every biology book for the past century has included pictures of vertebrate embryos made by German biologist and enthusiastic eugenicist Ernst Haeckel, purportedly demonstrating the amazing similarity of fish, chickens, and humans in the womb.

All the structure of the brain from the cerebral cortex down to the hypothalamus is developed from the forebrain of the original fishy ancestor of the vertebrates.

Also, in passing up the classes of vertebrates from fish to mammals, it is the forebrain section of the brain that undergoes major development, and the cerebrum becomes dominant.

When we ascend to vertebrates, those animals having a backbone, the amount of the nervous substance is greater, the organic functions are more complex, and the actions begin to display intelligence.

By the end of the Jurassic, sauropods, the grandest of all the dinosaur groups, were, in terms of abundance, the most significant vertebrates within these terrestrial ecosystems.

In the vertebrates, the organs of vision are supplied with filaments from the second pair of cranial nerves.

In most of the higher order of vertebrates, they are so situated as to give expression and proportion to the facial organs, and, at the same time, to suit the requirements of actual life.