Evolution and radiation of the Deuterostomia

The evolution of the superphylum Deuterostomia is of interest in view of the rise of the first chordates and craniotes. However, it is only scarcely assumed that chordate-like constructions could be basal deuterostomians, despite of the fact that results from developmental biology hint on a polysegmented deuterostomian ancestor. The hypothesis of polysegmented eochordates as ur-deuterostomians has been developed by researchers of the Senckenberg-Museum in the 1960ies. Actually, we try to update this model with respect to new genetic findings (e.g. the inclusion of Xenoturbella bocki into the Deuterostomia).

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