What is an animal?

Animals are a single kingdom of life and they include things like me and you,
so mammals and things like birds and fish, spiders and worms and then even things like corals and sponges. And we know that animals are all closely related because they share a number of traits.
They have a combination of characters that are unique amongst living things. Some of these characters include how animals make their living. Plants, for example, get their energy directly from the Sun, whereas animals
need to eat things: we use our environment to make our living. All animals can move at some stages of their life,
so fish or mammals are pretty active all of the time. But for things like sponges, it’s not the case and as adults they’re motionless,
but when they’re larvae they can move around. And then all animals possess a molecule called collagen and we use
structural collagen to hold our bodies together, and nothing else has this. So animals today are mega diverse, and when we’re thinking about the origins
of this astounding diversity we have to turn to the fossil record. And when we’re looking for the remains of ancient animals we can
use these and other characters to help to identify them. And that’s what you’ll see in this exhibition.

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