Metazoa Deuterostomia


Metazoa ╞═Porifera └─┬─Radiata └─Bilateria ├─Deuterostomia │ ├─Vetulicolia │ └─┬─Chordata │ └─Ambulacraria │ ├─Hemichordata │ └─┬─Vetulocystidae │ ╘═Homalozoa │ └─Echinodermata └─Protostomia ├─Ecdysozoa └─Lophotrochozoa


Banffia constricta

Reconstruction of a purported deuterostome, Banffia constricta (phylum Vetulicolia). Fossils of this enigmatic animal have been found in the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale lagerstatten of British Columbia.

Artwork by Stanton F. Fink, via Wikipedia, GNU Free Documentation/Creative Commons Attribution / Share Alike

Along with the Lophotrochozoa and Ecdysozoa (both belonging to the protostome clade), the Deuterostomes are one of the three main categories of "higher" animals (Bilateria). They include two very distinctive groups, the Echinoderms and the Chordates, along with a few minor phyla. Like the other two major bilaterian clades, they are exceedingly diverse, although rather less speciose or numerically abunadant than the other two groups. However they make up for the fewer numbers of species and individuals by the great success especially of one of their crown clades, the vertebrates, a group that began with tiny fish-like ancestors, but soon giving rise to creatures as diverse as dimetrodons and dinosaurs, teleosts and tainodonts, and holocephali and humans. Our story begins however with ancestral forms from the early Cambrian MAK120113

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