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Protistan Phylogeny as Indicated by the Fossil Record

Alfred R. Loeblich, Jr.
Taxon
Vol. 23, No. 2/3 (May, 1974), pp. 277-290
DOI: 10.2307/1218707
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1218707
Page Count: 14
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Protistan Phylogeny as Indicated by the Fossil Record
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Abstract

Even though the fossil record is incomplete and perhaps difficult to use in phylogenetic studies of the Protista, in the last resort it is the true basis for any real phylogeny as the dimension of time must be taken into consideration. Other hypothetical phylogenies represent speculation based on analysis of a single time plane. Major algal differentiation was a series of ancient events that took place early in the Precambrian and preceded the diversification of the animal kingdom. Every plant division, five of the classes and seven orders of plants, are represented by fossils of Precambrian age. In addition over 1500 described cyst species of some algal group (= Hystrichophyta or Acritarcha) occur in the Precambrian and Paleozoic, that may eventually fill in some of the gaps in the fossil record of the algae and contribute to a refinement of any future phylogenetic studies. With the increasing cooperation developing today between modern biologists and paleontologists interested in phylogenetic studies, I am optimistic for the future of this interesting and highly speculative field.

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