Editor's note: Animal prognosticators Punxsutawney Phil of Pennsylvania, General Beauregard Lee of Georgia and Staten Island Chuck of New York City all fail to see their shadow this Groundhog Day in an unanimous prediction for an early spring this season. - Shelley
Upcoming: It's Groundhog Day and there are numerous animals prognosticating how long winter will last but today we'll be favoring Pennsylvania groundhog-in-chief Punxsutawney Phil of Gobbler's Knob. We may also follow up with General Beauregard Lee of Georgia who, legend says, is more accurate than his cousin. We'll let you know.
Animals are multicellular, eukaryotic organisms of the kingdom Animalia (also called Metazoa). All animals are motile, meaning they can move spontaneously and independently, at some point in their lives. Their body plan eventually becomes fixed as they develop, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on in their lives. All animals are heterotrophs: they must ingest other organisms or their products for sustenance.
Most known animal phyla appeared in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion, about 542 million years ago. Animals are divided into various sub-groups, some of which are: vertebrates (birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish); molluscs (clams, oysters, octopuses, squid, snails); arthropods (millipedes, centipedes, insects, spiders, scorpions, crabs, lobsters, shrimp); annelids (earthworms, leeches); sponges; and jellyfish.