Echinoderm is the common name given to any member of the phylum Echinodermata of marine animals. The adults are recognizable by their (usually five-point) radial symmetry, and include such well-known animals as sea stars, sea urchins, sand dollars, and sea cucumbers, as well as the sea lilies or "stone lilies". The phylum contains about 7000 living species, making it the second-largest grouping of deuterostomes (a superphylum), after the chordates (which include the vertebrates, such as birds, fishes, mammals, and reptiles). Echinoderms are also the largest phylum that has no freshwater or terrestrial (land-based) representatives. Aside from the hard-to-classify Arkarua (a Precambrian animal with echinoderm-like pentamerous radial symmetry), the first definitive members of the phylum appeared near the start of the Cambrian. One group of Cambrian echinoderms, the cinctans (Homalozoa), which are close to the base of the echinoderm origin, have been found to possess external gills used for filter feeding, similar to those possessed by chordates and hemichordates.
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