The earliest history of the deuterostomes: The importance of the Chengjiang Fossil-Lagerstätte

Shu, D.-G. and Conway Morris, S. and Zhang, Z.-F. and Han, J. (2010) The earliest history of the deuterostomes: The importance of the Chengjiang Fossil-Lagerstätte. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 277 (1679). pp. 165-174. DOI

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While the broad framework of deuterostome evolution is now clear, the remarkable diversity of extant forms within this group has rendered the nature of the ancestral types problematic: what, for example, does the common ancestor of a sea urchin and lamprey actually look like? The answer to such questions can be addressed on the basis of remarkably well-preserved fossils from Cambrian Lagerstätten, not least the celebrated Chengjiang Lagerstätte (Yunnan, China). This deposit is particularly important because of its rich diversity of deuterostomes. These include some of the earliest known representatives, among which are the first vertebrates, as well as more enigmatic groups, notably the vetulicolians and yunnanozoans. The latter groups, in particular, have been the subject of some radical divergences in opinion as to their exact phylogenetic placements. Here, we both review the known diversity of Chengjiang deuterostomes and in particular argue that the vetulicolians and yunnanozoans represent very primitive deuterostomes. Moreover, in the latter case we present new data to indicate that the yunnanozoans are unlikely to be any sort of chordate. © 2009 The Royal Society.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2010AREP; IA61;
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume: 277
Page Range: pp. 165-174
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2010 09:16
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:00

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