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[lans-lit, lahns-] /ˈlæns lɪt, ˈlɑns-/
any of several small, lancet-shaped burrowing marine animals of the subphylum Cephalochordata, having a notochord and bearing structural similarities to both vertebrates and invertebrates.
Also called amphioxus.
Origin of lancelet
1565-75; lance2 + -let Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for lancelet


any of several marine animals of the genus Branchiostoma (formerly Amphioxus), esp B. lanceolatus, that are closely related to the vertebrates: subphylum Cephalochordata (cephalochordates) Also called amphioxus
Word Origin
C19: referring to the slender shape
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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lancelet in Science
Any of various small, transparent, fishlike marine organisms of the subphylum Cephalochordata that are related to vertebrates but have a notochord instead of a true backbone. Unlike other primitive chordates, lancelets have a body divided into serially repeated muscular segments. Also called amphioxus.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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