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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2000 Dec;11(6):411-8.

Phylogenetic analyses of mode of larval development.

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Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, Halifax, NS, B3H 4J1, Canada.


Phylogenies based on morphological or molecular characters have been used to provide an evolutionary context for analysis of larval evolution. Studies of gastropods, bivalves, tunicates, sea stars, sea urchins, and polychaetes have revealed massive parallel evolution of similar larval forms. Some of these studies were designed to test, and have rejected, the species selection hypothesis for evolutionary trends in the frequency of derived larvae or life history traits. However, the lack of well supported models of larval character evolution leave some doubt about the quality of inferences of larval evolution from phylogenies of living taxa. Better models based on maximum likelihood methods and known prior probabilities of larval character state changes will improve our understanding of the history of larval evolution.

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