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Animal EvolutionInterrelationships of the Living Phyla$
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Claus Nielsen

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199606023

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606023.001.0001

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Phylum Pterobranchia

Phylum Pterobranchia

(p.343) 61 Phylum Pterobranchia
Animal Evolution

Claus Nielsen

Oxford University Press

The Pterobranchia, one of the smallest phyla in the animal kingdom, consists of only three genera of marine, benthic organisms: Rhabdopleura, Cephalodiscus, and Atubaria. The fossil record of Rhabdopleura-like forms dates back to the Middle Cambrian, and the rhabdopleurids are now believed to be closely related to the highly diverse fossil group Graptolithina (Cambrian-Carboniferous). The pterobranchs are unquestionably monophyletic, and have been placed as both a sister group and an ingroup of the enteropneusts.

Keywords:   pterobranchs, Pterobranchia, Rhabdopleura, Cephalodiscus, Atubaria, Graptolithina, enteropneusts, rhabdopleurids

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