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Zookeys. 2011;(150):381-95. doi: 10.3897/zookeys.150.1566. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

Cambrian archaeocyathan metazoans: revision of morphological characters and standardization of genus descriptions to establish an online identification tool.

Author information

1
CNRS (UMR 7207, centre de recherche sur la paléobiodiversité et les paléoenvironnements), Laboratoire Informatique et Systématique, MNHN Département Histoire de la Terre, Bâtiment de Géologie, CP48, 57 rue Cuvier, 75005 Paris (France).

Abstract

Archaeocyatha represent the oldest calcified sponges and the first metazoans to build bioconstructions in association with calcimicrobes. They are a key group in biology, evolutionary studies, biostratigraphy, paleoecology and paleogeography of the early Cambrian times. The establishing of a new standardized terminology for archaeocyathans description has permitted the creation of the first knowledge base in English including descriptions of all archaeocyathan genera. This base, using the XPER² software package, is an integral part of the -Archaeocyatha- a knowledge base website, freely available at url http://www.infosyslab.fr/archaeocyatha. The website is composed of common information about Archaeocyatha, general remarks about the knowledge base, the description of the 307 genera recognized with images of type-specimens of type-species for each genus, as well as additional morphological data, an interactive free access key and its user guide.The automatic analysis and comparison of the digitized descriptions have identified some genera with highly similar morphology. These results are a great help for future taxonomic revisions and suggest a number of possible synonymies that require further study.

KEYWORDS:

Archaeocyatha; Cambrian; XPER² ; identification key; knowledge base; standardized characters

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