Schwartz, Karlene V. Department of Biology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts.
Last reviewed:November 2019
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- Form and habitat
- Nutrition and development
- Invertebrates and vertebrates
- Animal ancestry
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The classification rank comprising the animals. Animals are taxonomically assigned to the classification kingdom known as Animalia. (The other kingdoms for classification of organisms include Plantae, Fungi, Protista, and Monera; in certain systematic schemes, the Monera kingdom is replaced by the Archaea and Bacteria.) Animals are eukaryotic multicellular organisms that take food into their bodies and that develop from blastula embryos. The animal kingdom includes more than 1.2 million described species. Animal species are organized into phyla (see illustration) that are defined according to comparative patterns of development, body structures, behavior, biochemical pathways, modes of nutrition, and ancestry. See also: Biological classification; Eukaryota; Metazoa; Systematics; Taxonomic categories; Taxonomy; Zoology
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