Vertebrates are the type of animals that evolved with the vertebral column or more generally, with bones. The common vertebrates are birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. The primary function of the vertebrae is to protect the nerves and provide the necessary structural support for the organism, along with the skeleton framework. Despite the superior characteristic traits, invertebrates outnumber vertebrates by over 80 percent of the total species on Earth approximately.

Frequently Asked Questionsedit

What is the biggest known vertebrate?edit

The largest vertebrate to ever live on this planet would be the dinosaurs of order Sauropoda. But the largest vertebrate on the planet at the moment is the blue whale, which is even larger than the dinosaurs. This is because things weigh less in the water due to buoyancy. The less weight extends the practical limit of the whale's bones to support its own weight.

How big can a vertebrate grow?edit

The size of a vertebrate is limited mainly due to the gravity. The weight of any vertebrate is supported mainly by its bones and muscles. Weight is a factor that is proportional to the volume. According to the square-cube law, volume cubes when the size of an object increase, which means the weight does too. However, the strength of the bone is dependent on the surface area, which only squares as the size increases. Therefore, a vertebrate can grow up to a point where its bones can support its own weight.

What is the smallest vertebrate?edit

Paedophryne amauensis, a species of frog from Papua New Guinea, is the smallest known vertebrate on Earth. The average length of these frogs is 7.7 millimetre. It consists of only seven presacral vertebrae.[1]


  1. Rittmeyer, E. N., Allison, A., Gründler, M. C., Thompson, D. K., & Austin, C. C. (2012). Ecological Guild Evolution and the Discovery of the World’s Smallest Vertebrate. PLoS ONE, 7(1), e29797.