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Fossil Velvet Worms in Baltic and Dominican Amber: Onychophoran Evolution and Biogeography

George Poinar Jr.
Science
New Series, Vol. 273, No. 5280 (Sep. 6, 1996), pp. 1370-1371
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2891411
Page Count: 2
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Abstract

Velvet worms identified in Baltic and Dominican amber demonstrate that terrestrial onychophorans were present in the early Tertiary. Characters of the amber fossils are similar to those of the Cambrian Aysheaia and the Pennsylvanian Helenodora, which suggests that these Paleozoic lobopods are ancestral to extant velvet worms. The presence of slime secretions in the Dominican amber fossil shows that the slime glandpore complex had developed by the mid-Tertiary and could have been an adaptation to terrestrial life. The Baltic amber fossil shows that the range for this now predominately gondwanan group was expanded in the Tertiary.

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