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, 417 (6886), 271-5

A Palaeontological Solution to the Arthropod Head Problem

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A Palaeontological Solution to the Arthropod Head Problem

Graham E Budd. Nature.

Abstract

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).

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