Garey, James R. Department of Biology, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.
Last reviewed:January 2020
- Classic animal phylogeny
- Modern animal phylogeny
- Significance of modern view
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The evolutionary or ancestral history of invertebrate organisms. The animal kingdom is composed of approximately 35 phyla, with each phylum representing a distinct body plan. Only a portion of one phylum (Chordata) includes vertebrates; the remaining organisms are invertebrate animals. Traditional phylogeny is based on a number of morphological and developmental traits, or characters. The animal kingdom is probably derived from unicellular protozoanlike ancestors, which most likely underwent evolutionary processes of cytoplasmic separation to form multiple cells. See also: Animal evolution; Animal kingdom; Phylogeny
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