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Affinities of Aysheaia (Onychophora), with Description of a New Cambrian Species

R. A. Robison
Journal of Paleontology
Vol. 59, No. 1 (Jan., 1985), pp. 226-235
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1304837
Page Count: 10
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Affinities of Aysheaia (Onychophora), with Description of a New Cambrian Species
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Abstract

A review of phylogenetic affinities indicates that distinctive annulations and a related system of vascular channels are important synapomorphic characters uniting Cambrian marine representatives of Aysheaia and terrestrial onychophorans. These animals are assigned to the phylum Onychophora and an emended diagnosis is given. Similarities between Aysheaia and the Tardigrada may be superficial, but their phylogenetic relationship is difficult to assess. A new species, Aysheaia prolata, is described from the Wheeler Formation of Middle Cambrian age in western Utah. Representatives lived on the mud bottom of an open marine shelf. An associated, diverse biota is dominated by algae as well as detritus- and suspension-feeding arthropods.

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