Q.8:- Describe the evolutionary change in the pattern of heart among the vertebrates.
Vertebrates have a single heart. It is a hollow, muscular organ composed of cardiac muscle fibres. Two types of chambers in heart are atria and ventricles. The heart of lower vertebrates have additional chambers, namely sinus venosus and conus arteriosus or bulbus arteriosus or truncus arteriosus. During the course of development, in higher vertebrates, the persistent portions viz, auricles and ventricles are retained. However, these get complicated by incorporating several valves inside them and becoming compartmentali sed.
In fishes, heart is two chambered (1 auricle and 1 ventricle). Both the accessory chambers, sinus venosus and conus arteriosus are present. The heart pumps out deoxygenated blood which is oxygenated by the gills and sent to the body parts from where deoxygenated blood is carried to the heart. It is called single circulation and heart is called venous heart. Lung fish, amphibians and reptiles have three chambered heart, (2 auricles and 1 ventricle). The left atrium gets oxygenated blood from the gills/lungs/skin/buccopharyngeal cavity and the right atrium receives the deoxygenated blood from other body parts. But both oxygenated and deoxygenated blood get mixed up in single ventricle which pumps out mixed blood. This is called incomplete double circulation.
Crocodiles, birds and mammals have a complete four chambered heart (right and left auricles; right and left ventricles). Oxygenated and deoxygenated blood never get mixed. Right parts of the heart receive deoxygenated blood from all other body parts and send it to lungs for oxygenation whereas left parts of heart receive oxygenated blood from lungs and send it to other body parts. This mode of circulation is termed as complete double circulation which includes systemic and pulmonary circulation. There are no accessory chambers in heart of birds and mammals.