Evolution and development at the origin of a phylum

Bradley Deline, Jeffery Thompson, Nicholas Smith, Samuel Zamora, Imran Rahman, Sarah Sheffield, William Ausich, Thomas Kammer & Colin Sumrall
Quantifying morphological evolution is key to determining the patterns and processes underlying the origin of phyla. We constructed a hierarchical morphological character matrix to characterize the radiation and establishment of echinoderm body plans during the early Paleozoic. This showed that subphylum-level clades diverged gradually through the Cambrian, and the distinctiveness of the resulting body plans was amplified by the extinction of transitional forms and obscured by convergent evolution during the Ordovician. Higher-order characters that define...
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