Vertebrata is a subphlyum of Chordata that is further defined by their bony backbone.
Characteristics of Chordata
Animals in the phylum Chordata share four key features: a notochord, a dorsal hollow nerve cord, pharyngeal slits, and a post-anal tail.
Chordates and the Evolution of Vertebrates
Chordata contains two subphylums of invertebrates: Urochordata (tunicates) and Cephalochordata (lancelets).
Craniata and Vertebrata
Both genomic and fossil evidence suggests that vertebrates evolved from craniates, which evolved from invertebrate chordates.