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Durham Research Online
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Hallucigenia’s head and the pharyngeal armature of early ecdysozoans.

Smith, M.R. and Caron, J.-B. (2015) 'Hallucigenia’s head and the pharyngeal armature of early ecdysozoans.', Nature., 523 (7558). pp. 75-78.

Abstract

The molecularly defined clade Ecdysozoa1 comprises the panarthropods (Euarthropoda, Onychophora and Tardigrada) and the cycloneuralian worms (Nematoda, Nematomorpha, Priapulida, Loricifera and Kinorhyncha). These disparate phyla are united by their means of moulting, but otherwise share few morphological characters—none of which has a meaningful fossilization potential. As such, the early evolutionary history of the group as a whole is largely uncharted. Here we redescribe the 508-million-year-old stem-group onychophoran Hallucigenia sparsa2, 3, 4, 5, 6 from the mid-Cambrian Burgess Shale. We document an elongate head with a pair of simple eyes, a terminal buccal chamber containing a radial array of sclerotized elements, and a differentiated foregut that is lined with acicular teeth. The radial elements and pharyngeal teeth resemble the sclerotized circumoral elements and pharyngeal teeth expressed in tardigrades7, 8, 9, stem-group euarthropods10, 11, 12 and cycloneuralian worms13. Phylogenetic results indicate that equivalent structures characterized the ancestral panarthropod and, seemingly, the ancestral ecdysozoan, demonstrating the deep homology of panarthropod and cycloneuralian mouthparts, and providing an anatomical synapomorphy for the ecdysozoan supergroup.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1038/nature14573
Date accepted:18 May 2015
Date deposited:14 December 2016
Date of first online publication:24 June 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

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