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, 91 (1), 255-73

Making Sense of 'Lower' and 'Upper' Stem-Group Euarthropoda, With Comments on the Strict Use of the Name Arthropoda Von Siebold, 1848


Making Sense of 'Lower' and 'Upper' Stem-Group Euarthropoda, With Comments on the Strict Use of the Name Arthropoda Von Siebold, 1848

Javier Ortega-Hernández. Biol Rev Camb Philos Soc.


The ever-increasing number of studies that address the origin and evolution of Euarthropoda - whose extant representatives include chelicerates, myriapods, crustaceans and hexapods - are gradually reaching a consensus with regard to the overall phylogenetic relationships of some of the earliest representatives of this phylum. The stem-lineage of Euarthropoda includes numerous forms that reflect the major morphological transition from a lobopodian-type to a completely arthrodized body organization. Several methods of classification that aim to reflect such a complex evolutionary history have been proposed as a consequence of this taxonomic diversity. Unfortunately, this has also led to a saturation of nomenclatural schemes, often in conflict with each other, some of which are incompatible with cladistic-based methodologies. Here, I review the convoluted terminology associated with the classification of stem-group Euarthropoda, and propose a synapomorphy-based distinction that allows 'lower stem-Euarthropoda' (e.g. lobopodians, radiodontans) to be separated from 'upper stem-Euarthropoda' (e.g. fuxianhuiids, Cambrian bivalved forms) in terms of the structural organization of the head region and other aspects of overall body architecture. The step-wise acquisition of morphological features associated with the origins of the crown-group indicate that the node defining upper stem-Euarthropoda is phylogenetically stable, and supported by numerous synapomorphic characters; these include the presence of a deutocerebral first appendage pair, multisegmented head region with one or more pairs of post-ocular differentiated limbs, complete body arthrodization, posterior-facing mouth associated with the hypostome/labrum complex, and post-oral biramous arthropodized appendages. The name 'Deuteropoda' nov. is proposed for the scion (monophyletic group including the crown-group and an extension of the stem-group) that comprises upper stem-Euarthropoda and Euarthropoda. A brief account of common terminological inaccuracies in recent palaeontological studies evinces the utility of Deuteropoda nov. as a reference point for discussing aspects of early euarthropod phylogeny.

Keywords: Aiolopoda; Deuteropoda nov; Euarthropoda; Onychophora; Panarthropoda; Tardigrada; arthrodization; crown-group; lobopodian; phylogeny.

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