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.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Apr 2012|