Monday 6 March 2017
Definition: A body plan is "an assemblage of morphological features shared among many members of a phylum-level group".
The vertebrate body plan is one of many: invertebrates consist of many phyla.
This term, usually applied to animals , envisages a "blueprint" encompassing aspects such as symmetry , segmentation and limb disposition.
Evolutionary developmental biology seeks to explain the origins of diverse body plans.
Body plans have historically been considered to have evolved in a flash in the Cambrian explosion, but a more nuanced understanding of animal evolution suggests the gradual development of body plans throughout the early palaeozoic era.