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A holomorph approach to xiphosuran evolution—a case study on the ontogeny of Euproops
Haug, C.; Van Roy, P.; Leipner, A.; Funch, P.; Rudkin, D.M.; Schöllmann, L.; Haug, J.T. (2012). A holomorph approach to xiphosuran evolution—a case study on the ontogeny of Euproops. Dev. Genes Evol. 222(5): 253-268. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00427-012-0407-7
In: Development, Genes and Evolution. Springer: Berlin; Heidelberg. ISSN 0949-944X; e-ISSN 1432-041X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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    Euproops danae; Euproops rotundatus
Author keywords
    Euproops danae ; Euproops rotundatus ; Fossilized ontogeny; Tagmatisation; Hapantotype

Authors  Top 
  • Haug, C.
  • Van Roy, P., more
  • Leipner, A.
  • Funch, P.
  • Rudkin, D.M.
  • Schöllmann, L.
  • Haug, J.T.

    Specimens of Euproops sp. (Xiphosura, Chelicerata) from the Carboniferous Piesberg quarry near Osnabrück, Germany, represent a relatively complete growth series of 10 stages. Based on this growth sequence, morphological changes throughout the ontogeny can be identified. The major change affects the shape of the epimera of the opisthosoma. In earlier stages, they appear very spine-like, whereas in later stages the bases of these spine-like structures become broader; the broadened bases are then successively drawn out distally. In the most mature stage known, the epimera are of trapezoidal shape and approach each other closely to form a complete flange around the thoracetron (=fused tergites of the opisthosoma). These ontogenetic changes question the taxonomic status of different species of Euproops, as the latter appear to correspond to different stages of the ontogenetic series reconstructed from the Piesberg specimens. This means that supposed separate species could, in fact, represent different growth stages of a single species. It could alternatively indicate that heterochrony (=evolutionary change of developmental timing) plays an important role in the evolution of Xiphosura. We propose a holomorph approach, i.e., reconstructing ontogenetic sequences for fossil and extant species as a sound basis for a taxonomic, phylogenetic, and evolutionary discussion of Xiphosura.

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