Vertebrate Zoology Lab II- Chordata

This is an introduction to the Chordata, the phylum to which the craniates (vertebrates) belong. See Lab 2 of Gergus and Schuett.


I) Observe the various specimens of non-vertebrate chordates. Using a microscope, look at the slides of Amphioxus and Ammocetes and the tunicate larvae.


II) Look at the slide of conodont teeth and the accompanying diagrams/pictures. How would you determine how to classify these "organisms"? (Remember, the "conodont teeth" have been know for much longer than the actual specimen).


Be able to identify all taxa listed and their major characteristics.


Know synapomorphies which unite the taxa into monophyletic taxa (Figure 2.1)


For Hemichordata, be able to identify the following structures: Proboscis, collar, trunk, pharyngeal slits,

Answer questions: Q1, Q2, Q3.


For all specimens of the phylum Chordata, be able to identify the synapomorphies for the Chordata (i.e., dorsal hollow nerve cord, notochord, pharyngeal arches). Be able to identify these structures on any appropriate specimens in any subsequent lab.

Answer question: Q4.


For Urochordata be able to identify the following structures: Mouth, Pharyngeal slits, Base.

Answer questions: Q5, Q6


For Cephalochordata be able to identify the following structures: buccal cirri, myomeres, myosepta, caudal fin, dorsal fin, atriopore, rostrum, anus.

Answer questions: Q8, Q9.


NB: On Figure 2.7, there is a misprint. The word "Anus" that appears to the left of the word "intestine" should be replaced by the word "atriopore".



Skip: the section "Cleared and Stained Cross-Sections of Adults" on page 43. Skip Figures 2.8 and 2.9


III) I've got several different fossils out (including some invertebrates and plants). These are here just so that you know what a fossil looks like and how you might tell the fossil from the matrix in which it is found. Which are real and which are models? On the real ones, can you separate the fossil from the matrix? Can you tell what these are (e.g., are the hard parts, soft parts, coprolites, parts of an individual, the entire individual)?

I've provided an attachment that explains how fossilization takes place. Read it -- it's fair game on the lecture exam.


IV) Learn the following terms for Anatomical Direction: Anterior, Cranial, Posterior, Caudal, Inferior, Dorsal, Superior, and Ventral.