bi·​la·​te·​ri·​an ˌbī-lə-ˈtir-ē-ən How to pronounce bilaterian (audio)
plural bilaterians
: an animal having bilateral symmetry
Scientists refer to animals, including humans, with this two-sided symmetry as bilaterians.Carl Zimmer, New York Times, 21 June 2005
Comb jellies and cnidarians branched off before bilaterians diversified into the variety of animal groups known today, and they are considered relatively "simple" organisms.Elizabeth Pennisi, Science, 6 July 2007
bilaterian adjective
bilaterian animals
… it is possible that bilaterian life emerged early in the Ediacaran, but at present, no fossils or trace fossils from this time have been reported. Ernesto Pecoits et al., Science, 29 June 2012

Word History

First Known Use

1983, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of bilaterian was in 1983

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Cite this Entry

“Bilaterian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

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