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An endoskeleton is an internal support structure of an animal. In three phyla and one subclass of animals, endoskeletons of various complexity are found: Chordata, Echinodermata, Porifera and Coleoidea. An endoskeleton allows the body to move and gives the body structure and shape. A true endoskeleton is derived from mesodermal tissue. Such a skeleton is present in echinoderms and chordates. The poriferan 'skeleton' consists of microscopic calcareous or siliceous spicules or a spongin network. The Coleoidae do not have a true endoskeleton in the evolutionary sense; here, a mollusc exoskeleton evolved into several sorts of internal structure, the "cuttlebone" of cuttlefish being the best-known version. Yet they do have cartilaginous tissue in their body, even if it's not mineralized, especially in the head where it forms a primitive cranium. An important advantage of an endoskeleton over an exoskeleton is that the endoskeleton provides more structural support.



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