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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • List the features that distinguish the animal kingdom from other kingdoms
  • Explain the processes of animal reproduction and embryonic development
  • Describe the hierarchy of basic animal classification
  • Compare and contrast the embryonic development of protostomes and deuterostomes

Even though members of the animal kingdom are incredibly diverse, animals share common features that distinguish them from organisms in other kingdoms. All animals are eukaryotic, multicellular organisms, and almost all animals have specialized tissues. Most animals are motile, at least during certain life stages. Animals require a source of food to grow and develop. All animals are heterotrophic, ingesting living or dead organic matter. This form of obtaining energy distinguishes them from autotrophic organisms, such as most plants, which make their own nutrients through photosynthesis and from fungi that digest their food externally. Animals may be carnivores, herbivores, omnivores, or parasites ( [link] ). Most animals reproduce sexually: The offspring pass through a series of developmental stages that establish a determined body plan, unlike plants, for example, in which the exact shape of the body is indeterminate. The body plan    refers to the shape of an animal.

Part a shows a bear with a large fish in its mouth. Part b shows a heart in a jar. Long, threadlike worms extend from the heart.
All animals that derive energy from food are heterotrophs. The (a) black bear is an omnivore, eating both plants and animals. The (b) heartworm Dirofilaria immitis is a parasite that derives energy from its hosts. It spends its larval stage in mosquitos and its adult stage infesting the hearts of dogs and other mammals, as shown here. (credit a: modification of work by USDA Forest Service; credit b: modification of work by Clyde Robinson)

Complex tissue structure

A hallmark trait of animals is specialized structures that are differentiated to perform unique functions. As multicellular organisms, most animals develop specialized cells that group together into tissues with specialized functions. A tissue is a collection of similar cells that had a common embryonic origin. There are four main types of animal tissues: nervous, muscle, connective, and epithelial. Nervous tissue contains neurons, or nerve cells, which transmit nerve impulses. Muscle tissue contracts to cause all types of body movement from locomotion of the organism to movements within the body itself. Animals also have specialized connective tissues that provide many functions, including transport and structural support. Examples of connective tissues include blood and bone. Connective tissue is comprised of cells separated by extracellular material made of organic and inorganic materials, such as the protein and mineral deposits of bone. Epithelial tissue covers the internal and external surfaces of organs inside the animal body and the external surface of the body of the organism.

Concept in action

View this video to watch a presentation by biologist E.O. Wilson on the importance of animal diversity.

Animal reproduction and development

Most animals have diploid body (somatic) cells and a small number of haploid reproductive (gamete) cells produced through meiosis. Some exceptions exist: For example, in bees, wasps, and ants, the male is haploid because it develops from an unfertilized egg. Most animals undergo sexual reproduction, while many also have mechanisms of asexual reproduction.

Questions & Answers

I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
How can I make nanorobot?
Lily
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, University of georgia concepts of biology. OpenStax CNX. May 28, 2013 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11526/1.2
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