CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CLAUDE NURIDSANY & MARIE PERENNOU / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Light micrograph of the tail of a lancelet, Branchiostoma sp., (formerly known as Amphioxus sp.), showing its spinal cord (central band). Lancelets are primitive, fish-like marine animals, included in the chordates. They are important in evolution as a specialised descendant of the line that gave rise to the vertebrates. They have no skull, vertebral column, centralised brain nor paired limbs, but there is a notocord (a supportive rod, the precursor of the backbone), tail and a number of gill slits. The body is laterally compressed and tapers like a lance at both the front & rear end. Magnification unknown.
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