Definition of vertebrate in English:



  • An animal of a large group distinguished by the possession of a backbone or spinal column, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes.

    Compare with invertebrate
    • ‘Instead the molecules that orchestrate adaptive immunity are found in the jawed vertebrates and nowhere else.’
    • ‘Following Simpson, Newell mentioned the example of the relatively wider limb bones of larger land vertebrates.’
    • ‘If you look at all the warm-blooded vertebrates, we've all got roughly the same life span.’
    • ‘In short, this analysis finds that conodonts are more derived than any of the living jawless vertebrates.’
    • ‘Floras and faunas from these beds have been discussed, but the remains of small vertebrates have received little attention.’
    • ‘And we're slow, compared to most big warm-blooded vertebrates.’
    • ‘Their presence suggests the feature appeared in a common ancestor of jawed vertebrates, or gnathostomes.’
    • ‘But some land vertebrates have lost some or all of their ability to detect pheromones.’
    • ‘The temperature at which the eggs of ectothermic vertebrates incubate can influence several phenotypic traits of offspring.’
    • ‘The limbs of tetrapod vertebrates evolved from fins, with the digits as a novel feature.’
    • ‘For that reason the earliest terrestrial vertebrates did not come equipped with an occiput, as we understand the term.’
    • ‘In contrast, people and other jawed vertebrates brandish adaptive immune systems.’
    • ‘Frugivorous vertebrates ingest fruits and the seeds within, later defecating the seeds.’
    • ‘Such a growth trajectory is uncommon or unreported among terrestrial vertebrates and merits closer examination.’
    • ‘Unlike all other jawed vertebrates, placoderms never had teeth, and did not descend from toothed ancestors.’
    • ‘When the fossilized lamprey lived, there were probably many types of jawless vertebrates.’
    • ‘The third puzzle is why all of this should happen in warm-blooded vertebrates but not in cold-blooded vertebrates.’
    • ‘No one had unambiguously located such genes in animals more primitive than the jawed vertebrates.’
    • ‘Owen's studies on fossil vertebrates were immensely productive.’
    • ‘Jawed vertebrates appeared 100 million years later, in the Silurian.’


  • Relating to the vertebrates.

    • ‘In tropical rainforests, the majority of woody plant species disperse seeds via vertebrate frugivores.’
    • ‘Indeed, during this time most of the various invertebrate and vertebrate phyla evolved.’
    • ‘However, vertebrate material was rare in this deposit, and there was not enough material to analyze biochemically.’
    • ‘Variations in lemming abundance had a considerable effect on many other vertebrate species in this community.’
    • ‘Similar dispersal behavior among vertebrate siblings has been reported.’
    • ‘The spider is the also first known predator that deliberately feeds on vertebrate blood by eating mosquitoes.’
    • ‘New mutated forms of GFP that are more intensely fluorescent provide more avenues for its use in vertebrate systems.’
    • ‘Examples of this behavioral hierarchy appear in every vertebrate group.’
    • ‘The beluga sturgeon is one of the most long-lived of all vertebrate species.’
    • ‘If we are ever to develop a theory of vertebrate osteology, this is one of the most remarkable facts it will have to explain.’
    • ‘Members of all vertebrate classes predate eggs and hatchlings.’
    • ‘Understanding of the earliest amniotes has been a central pursuit of vertebrate paleontologists over the past century.’
    • ‘To delve further into this subject, check out our new exhibits on vertebrate flight and chiropteran flight.’
    • ‘Most investigation into such an antipredatory benefit has focused on caudal autotomy in vertebrate taxa.’
    • ‘This junction is clearly visible as a dark band or basal lamina in electron micrographs of developing vertebrate teeth.’
    • ‘Burying beetles fly in search of small vertebrate carcasses that they inter and subsequently use as the sole larval food source.’
    • ‘In addition to abundant crinoids, a diverse invertebrate and vertebrate fauna is contained within the Muldraugh.’
    • ‘Each vertebrate species was infected by different subsets of oMG's.’
    • ‘For more information, see our new exhibits on vertebrate flight and avian flight.’
    • ‘In at least some areas of the river, Axarus larvae are eaten by vertebrate predators.’


Early 19th century: from Latin vertebratus jointed from vertebra (see vertebra).