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Animals

Science

TermDefinition
homeostasis the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.
adaptation the action or process of adapting or being adapted.
vertebrate an animal of a large group distinguished by the possession of a backbone or spinal column, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes.
invertebrate an animal lacking a backbone, such as an arthropod, mollusk, annelid, coelenterate, etc. The invertebrates constitute an artificial division of the animal kingdom, comprising 95 percent of animal species and about 30 different phyla.
tissue any of the distinct types of material of which animals or plants are made, consisting of specialized cells and their products.
organ a part of an organism that is typically self-contained and has a specific vital function, such as the heart or liver in humans.
radial symmetry symmetry around a central axis, as in a starfish or a tulip flower.
bilateral symmetry the property of being divisible into symmetrical halves on either side of a unique plane.
cnidarian an aquatic invertebrate animal of the phylum Cnidaria, which comprises the coelenterates.
mollusk an invertebrate of a large phylum that includes snails, slugs, mussels, and octopuses. They have a soft, unsegmented body and live in aquatic or damp habitats, and most kinds have an external calcareous shell.
arthropod an invertebrate animal of the large phylum Arthropoda, such as an insect, spider, or crustacean.
exoskeleton a rigid external covering for the body in some invertebrate animals, especially arthropods, providing both support and protection.
echinoderm a marine invertebrate of the phylum Echinodermata, such as a starfish, sea urchin, or sea cucumber.
endoskeleton an internal skeleton, such as the bony or cartilaginous skeleton of vertebrates.
chordate an animal of the large phylum Chordata, comprising the vertebrates together with the sea squirts and lancelets.
notochord a cartilaginous skeletal rod supporting the body in all embryonic and some adult chordate animals.
vertebra each of the series of small bones forming the backbone, having several projections for articulation and muscle attachment, and a hole through which the spinal cord passes.
ectotherm an animal that is dependent on external sources of body heat.
endotherm an animal that is dependent on or capable of the internal generation of heat; a warm-blooded animal.
fish a limbless cold-blooded vertebrate animal with gills and fins and living wholly in water.
cartilage firm, whitish, flexible connective tissue found in various forms in the larynx and respiratory tract, in structures such as the external ear, and in the articulating surfaces of joints.
amphibian a cold-blooded vertebrate animal of a class that comprises the frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders. They are distinguished by having an aquatic gill-breathing larval stage followed (typically) by a terrestrial lung-breathing adult stage.
reptile a vertebrate animal of a class that includes snakes, lizards, crocodiles, turtles, and tortoises. They are distinguished by having a dry scaly skin and typically laying soft-shelled eggs on land.
bird a warm-blooded egg-laying vertebrate distinguished by the possession of feathers, wings, and a beak and (typically) by being able to fly.
mammal a warm-blooded vertebrate animal of a class that is distinguished by the possession of hair or fur, the secretion of milk by females for the nourishment of the young, and (typically) the birth of live young.
mammary gland the milk-producing gland of women or other female mammals.
monotreme a primitive mammal that lays large yolky eggs and has a common opening for the urogenital and digestive systems. Monotremes are now restricted to Australia and New Guinea, and comprise the platypus and the echidnas.
marsupial a mammal of an order whose members are born incompletely developed and are typically carried and suckled in a pouch on the mother's belly.
placental mammal a mammal that develops inside its mother's body until its body systems can function independently
placenta a flattened circular organ in the uterus of pregnant eutherian mammals, nourishing and maintaining the fetus through the umbilical cord.
Created by: 0003199et