A phylum of aquatic invertebrate animals that comprises the sponges.
- Of particular interest in this regard are animals in the early diverging non-bilaterian phyla Porifera, Placozoa, Cnidaria, and Ctenophora.
- By this usage, the basal metazoans comprise just four phyla (Placozoa, Porifera, Cnidaria, and Ctenophora) and the large clade Bilateria.
- In contrast to the striking conservation of caspases and bcl - 2 proteins in all animal phyla from Porifera and Cnidaria to mammals, these features of apoptosis are not present in yeast or plants.
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