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Fossil animals

Mecochirus marwicki, Kawhia

INVERTEBRATES – animals without a backbone.

VERTEBRATES – animals with a backbone.

In rocks older than about 100 million years, the vertebrate fossil record in New Zealand is relatively scattered. However from the middle of the Cretaceous onwards, there is a spectacular range of vertebrates.

  • Reptiles - Air-breathing, cold-blooded vertebrates with scales or scutes, including marine reptiles, and dinosaurs and terrestrial reptiles.
  • Fish – cold-blooded, aquatic vertebrates covered in scales
  • Birds winged, bipedal, warm-blooded, egg-laying, vertebrates
  • Mammals air-breathing, warm-blooded animals with hair or fur