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Paedomorphosis, Aristotle's lantern, and the origin of the sand dollars (Echinodermata: Clypeasteroida)

  • Rich Mooi (a1)


Convincing hypotheses of the origin of major invertebrate groups are difficult to make in the absence of phylogenetic analyses. In spite of this, several scenarios exist for the origin of the unusual echinoid order Clypeasteroida. I expand upon the most probable of these models by performing a phylogenetic analysis on three clypeasteroid suborders, the enigmatic fossil genus Togocyamus, and the extinct Oligopygoida. This analysis shows that the oligopygoids are the sister group of the Clypeasteroida plus Togocyamus. The latter is here considered a plesion (extinct sister group) to the crown group Clypeasteroida. Within that order, the suborder Clypeasterina is the sister group to the Laganina plus Scutellina. A new classification of all these taxa is presented. The phylogeny is based on 47 characters and incorporates data on external appendages, Aristotle's lantern anatomy, and test structure of irregular echinoids, as well as new information on the morphology of Togocyamus. The earliest clypeasteroids had a lantern similar to that of adult oligopygoids, which in turn inherited their lantern from a cassiduloid-like ancestor that retained the lantern into adulthood. This lantern is absent in adult cassiduloids. Subsequent changes, including modification of the lantern into a crushing mill, extreme flattening of the test, and proliferation of food-gathering tube feet have allowed clypeasteroids to become epifaunal inhabitants of environments characterized by fine, shifting substrates, a habitat previously inaccessible to most other irregular echinoids.



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Paedomorphosis, Aristotle's lantern, and the origin of the sand dollars (Echinodermata: Clypeasteroida)

  • Rich Mooi (a1)


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