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Integr Comp Biol. 2017 Sep 1;57(3):499-509. doi: 10.1093/icb/icx039.

Metamorphosis Is Ancestral for Crown Euarthropods, and Evolved in the Cambrian or Earlier.

Author information

1
Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 32 Vassar Street, Building 54-1018, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.

Abstract

Macroevolutionary developmental biology employs fossilized ontogenetic data and phylogenetic comparative methods to probe the evolution of development at ancient nodes. Despite the prevalence of ecologically differentiated larval forms in marine invertebrates, it has been frequently presumed that the ancestors of arthropods were direct developers, and that metamorphosis may not have evolved until the Ordovician or later. Using fossils and new dated phylogenies, I infer that metamorphosis was likely ancestral for crown arthropods, contradicting this assumption. Based on a published morphological dataset encompassing 217 exceptionally preserved fossil and 96 extant taxa, fossils were directly incorporated into both the topology and age estimates, as in "tip dating" analyses. Using data from post-embryonic fossils representing 25 species throughout stem and crown arthropod lineages (as well as most of the 96 extant taxa), characters for metamorphosis were assigned based on inferred ecological changes in development (e.g., changes in habitat and adaptive landscape). Under all phylogenetic hypotheses, metamorphosis was supported as most likely ancestral to both ecdysozoans and euarthropods. Care must be taken to account for potential drastic post-embryonic morphological changes in evolutionary analyses. Many stem group euarthrpods may have had ecologically differentiated larval stages that did not preserve in the fossil record. Moreover, a complex life cycle and planktonic ecology may have evolved in the Ediacaran or earlier, and may have typified the pre-Cambrian explosion "wormworld" prior to the origin of crown group euarthropods.

PMID:
28957514
DOI:
10.1093/icb/icx039
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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