Introduction to Animals

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vertebrate
An animal with a backbone
adaptation
A characteristic that improves an individual's ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.
invertebrate
An animal without a backbone
tissue
A group of similar cells that perform the same function.
organ
A collection of tissues that carry out a specialized function of the body
radial symmetry
Body plan in which body parts repeat around the center of the body.
bilateral symmetry
Body plan in which only a single, imaginary line can divide the body into two equal halves.
homeostasis
Process by which organisms maintain a relatively stable internal environment.
chordate
Animals with a notochord, most have a backbone.
notochord
A flexible rod that supports a chordate's back
vertebrae
Bones of the spinal column
ectotherm
An animal whose body does not produce much internal heat
endotherm
An organism that is internally warmed by a heat-generating metabolic process
cnidarian
An invertebrate animal that uses stinging cells to capture food and defend itself.
sponge
Filter feeders without true tissues or organs
mollusk
soft bodies, shells, muscular feet
athropod
animal with jointed legs and hard outer body covering that makes up the largest group of invertebrates.
exoskeleton
A hard, external, supporting structure.
endoskeleton
An internal skeleton
echinoderm
A phylum of marine invertebrates that are radially symmetrical. Includes starfish, sea urchins and sea cucumbers
fish
An ectothermic vertebrate that breathes through gills and lives in water.
cartilage
A connective tissue that is more flexible than bone
amphibian
ectothermic animal living on both land and water
reptile
Any of a class of coldblooded chordates that breathe through lungs and have dry, scaly skin and lay eggs on land
bird
An endothermic vertebrate that is covered in feathers, breathes through lungs and lays hard-shelled eggs.
mammals
endothermic vertebrates that have skin covered with fur or hair, and a four-chambered heart
mammary glands
Specialized organs in mammals that produce milk to nourish the young
monotremes
Egg laying mammals
marsupials
Mammals whose immature offspring complete their development in an external pouch.
placental mammal
a mammal that develops inside its mother's body until its body systems can function independently
placenta
A structure that allows an embryo to be nourished with the mother's blood supply
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