Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 417 (6886), 271-5

A Palaeontological Solution to the Arthropod Head Problem


A Palaeontological Solution to the Arthropod Head Problem

Graham E Budd. Nature.


The composition of the arthropod head has been one of the most controversial topics in zoology, with a large number of theories being proposed to account for it over the last century. Although fossils have been recognized as being of potential importance in resolving the issue, a lack of consensus over their systematics has obscured their contribution. Here, I show that a group of previously problematic Cambrian arthropods from the Burgess Shale and Chengjiang faunas form a clade close to crown-group euarthropods, the group containing myriapods, chelicerates, insects and crustaceans. They are characterized by modified or even absent endopods, and two pre-oral appendages. Comparison with reconstructions of the crown-group euarthropod ground plan and recent investigations into onychophorans demonstrates that these two appendages are the first antenna (of extant crustaceans) and a more anterior appendage associated with an ocular segment. The latter appendage has been reduced in all crown-group euarthropods. Its most likely relic is as a component of the labrum. These fossils thus tie together results from disparate living groups (onychophorans and euarthropods).

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 47 PubMed Central articles

See all "Cited by" articles

Publication types

LinkOut - more resources