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Phylum Chordata and Humans

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Discuss the characteristics that define humans as belonging to the phylum Chordata. How do these characteristics change after the embryonic stage of growth?

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All chordates have these characteristics in common: pharyngeal pouches, a notochord, a postanal tail, and a hollow, dorsal nerve cord (Bouyer nd; McGraw Hill 2001). Chordates also have bilateral symmetry, a head, body segmentation, a body cavity, and a digestive system (Anonymous 2010).

In humans, the pharyngeal pouches, or gill slits, will become the palantine tonsils, tympanic membrane, the eustachian tube, the parathyroid glands, thymus, and the parafollicular cells of the thyroid (O'Laughlin 2003).

1st pharyngeal pouch: tubotympanic ...

Solution Summary

This solution contains an explanation as to what characteristics humans have that place them in the phylum chordata. It also explains how these characteristics change that make them different from other chordates. Links are given, as well as detailed information on sources.

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There are nine major animal phyla (actually there are over thirty that are recognized by taxonomists so consider yourself getting off lucky). Choose two phyla that you find particularly interesting (while trying avoid combinations picked by other class members). Give common examples of each phylum and distinguish among them relative to types of tissues/tissue layers (none, diplobastic, triplobastic), body symmetry (assymetrical, radial symmetry, and bilateral symmetry) and presence and type of body cavity (acoelomate, pseudocoelomate, coelomate). Be careful not to confuse digestive cavities with body cavities. They are very different things. Briefly, discuss why the phyla would be similar or different for these characters based on evolutionary relationships and environmental influences.

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