The majority of animal species are invertebrates; one estimate puts the figure at 97%. Many invertebrate taxa have a greater number and variety of species than the entire subphylum of Vertebrata.
Some of the so-called invertebrates, such as the Tunicata and Cephalochordata are more closely related to the vertebrates than to other invertebrates. This makes the invertebrates paraphyletic, so the term has little meaning in taxonomy.
The word "invertebrate" comes from the Latin word vertebra, which means a joint in general, and sometimes specifically a joint from the spinal column of a vertebrate. The jointed aspect of vertebra is derived from the concept of turning, expressed in the root verto or vorto, to turn. The prefix in- means "not" or "without".