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Phylogenetic position of Diania challenged.

by Ross C P Mounce, Matthew A Wills
Nature ()

Abstract

Liu et al.1 describe a new and remarkable fossil, Diania cactiformis. This animal apparently combined the soft trunk of lobopodians (a group including the extant velvet worms in addition to many Palaeozoic genera) with the jointed limbs that typify arthropods. They go on to promote Diania as the immediate sister group to the arthropods, and conjecture that sclerotized and jointed limbs may therefore have evolved before articulated trunk tergites in the immediate arthropod stem. The data published by Liu et al.1 do not un-ambiguously support these conclusions; rather, we believe that Diania probably belongs within an unresolved clade or paraphyletic grade of lobopodians.

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