The Burgess Shale fossil, Pikaia, about 4 cm long and with a notochord (an internal stiffening “spine”) along its back, has the distinction of being the earliest known representative of the phylum to which we ourselves belong.

Well hiya, old Pikaia!
Your sleek and slender line
Anitcipates us vertebrates:
Your notochord’s our spine.

[Image: York University, Toronto]
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