Understanding Evolution

The Arthropod Defined

We've seen that arthropods are a whole lot more than just cockroaches and lobsters. However, all those descendents of the arthropod ancestor share certain key characteristics that they inherited from that ancestor. Using the information from this section you should be able to tell if an animal is an arthropod based on whether or not it inherited the key arthropod traits.

mantis millipede
hermit crab butterfly

Now that we have a good idea of what an arthropod is, let's go way back to the Cambrian Period and take a look at arthropod origins.


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Mantis photo © 2004 Joyce Gross; Millipede and hermit crab photos © 2004 William Leonard; Butterfly photo by T. W. Davies © California Academy of Sciences

Understanding Evolution © 2017 by The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley, and the Regents of the University of California