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Arthropod Struct Dev. 2010 Mar-May;39(2-3):74-87. doi: 10.1016/j.asd.2009.10.002. Epub 2009 Nov 10.

Arthropod phylogeny: an overview from the perspectives of morphology, molecular data and the fossil record.

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  • 1Department of Palaeontology, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, UK.


Monophyly of Arthropoda is emphatically supported from both morphological and molecular perspectives. Recent work finds Onychophora rather than Tardigrada to be the closest relatives of arthropods. The status of tardigrades as panarthropods (rather than cycloneuralians) is contentious from the perspective of phylogenomic data. A grade of Cambrian taxa in the arthropod stem group includes gilled lobopodians, dinocaridids (e.g., anomalocaridids), fuxianhuiids and canadaspidids that inform on character acquisition between Onychophora and the arthropod crown group. A sister group relationship between Crustacea (itself likely paraphyletic) and Hexapoda is retrieved by diverse kinds of molecular data and is well supported by neuroanatomy. This clade, Tetraconata, can be dated to the early Cambrian by crown group-type mandibles. The rival Atelocerata hypothesis (Myriapoda+Hexapoda) has no molecular support. The basal node in the arthropod crown group is embroiled in a controversy over whether myriapods unite with chelicerates (Paradoxopoda or Myriochelata) or with crustaceans and hexapods (Mandibulata). Both groups find some molecular and morphological support, though Mandibulata is presently the stronger morphological hypothesis. Either hypothesis forces an unsampled ghost lineage for Myriapoda from the Cambrian to the mid Silurian.

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