Photograph of a lancelet

Photograph of a lancelet

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This image is part of the feature Missing Links - Transitional Fossils

Credit: SINCLAIR STAMMERS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Photograph of a lancelet, Branchiostoma sp., formerly known as Amphioxus sp.. Lancelets are fish-like marine animals that grow up to 7.5cm long. The body is laterally compressed and tapers like a lance at both the front & rear end. They live in temperate & warm oceans. They are able to swim freely by undulating movements for short periods, but spend most of their time buried in sand on the sea bottom. Lancelets belong to the phylum of chordates, subphylum Acrania. They are important in evolution as a specialised descendant of the line that gave rise to the vertebrates.

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Keywords: amphioxus, animal, branchiostoma sp., cephalochordata, lancelet, nature, wildlife, zoology

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