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Cambrian spiral-plated echinoderms from Gondwana reveal the earliest pentaradial body plan
Smith, A.B.; Zamora, S. (2013). Cambrian spiral-plated echinoderms from Gondwana reveal the earliest pentaradial body plan. Proc. - Royal Soc., Biol. Sci. 280(1765): 6 pp. hdl.handle.net/10.1098/rspb.2013.1197
In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. The Royal Society: London. ISSN 0962-8452, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Echinodermata [WoRMS]; Marine
Author keywords
    phylogeny, body plans, Echinodermata, evolution, Cambrian explosion

Authors  Top 
  • Smith, A.B.
  • Zamora, S.

Abstract
    Echinoderms are unique among animal phyla in having a pentaradial body plan, and their fossil record provides critical data on how this novel organization came about by revealing intermediate stages. Here, we report a spiral-plated animal from the early Cambrian of Morocco that is the most primitive pentaradial echinoderm yet discovered. It is intermediate between helicoplacoids (a bizarre group of spiral-bodied echinoderms) and crown-group pentaradiate echinoderms. By filling an important gap, this fossil reveals the common pattern that underpins the body plans of the two major echinoderm clades (pelmatozoans and eleutherozoans), showing that differential growth played an important role in their divergence. It also adds to the striking disparity of novel body plans appearing in the Cambrian explosion.

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