A molecular palaeobiological hypothesis for the origin of aplacophoran molluscs and their derivation from chiton-like ancestors

Jakob Vinther*, Erik A. Sperling, Derek E G Briggs, Kevin J. Peterson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aplacophorans have long been argued to be basal molluscs. We present a molecular phylogeny, including the aplacophorans Neomeniomorpha (Solenogastres) and Chaetodermomorpha (Caudofoveata), which recovered instead the clade Aculifera (Aplacophora + Polyplacophora). Our relaxed Bayesian molecular clock estimates an Early Ordovician appearance of the aculiferan crown group consistent with the presence of chiton-like molluscs with seven or eight dorsal shell plates by the Late Cambrian (approx. 501-490 Ma). Molecular, embryological and palaeontological data indicate that aplacophorans, as well as chitons, evolved from a paraphyletic assemblage of chiton-like ancestors. The recovery of cephalopods as a sister group to aculiferans suggests that the plesiomorphic condition in molluscs might be a morphology similar to that found in monoplacophorans.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1259-1268
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume279
Issue number1732
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Apr 2012

Keywords

  • Aculifera
  • Mollusca
  • Palaeoloricates
  • Polyplacophora

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