Just out | Superstesaster promissor gen. et sp. nov., a new starfish (Echinodermata, Asteroidea) from the Early Triassic of Utah, USA, filling a major gap in the phylogeny of asteroids @ Journal of Systematic Palaeontology

Just out @ Journal of Systematic Palaeontology

Superstesaster promissor gen. et sp. nov., a new starfish (Echinodermata, Asteroidea) from the Early Triassic of Utah, USA, filling a major gap in the phylogeny of asteroids


Loïc Villier, Arnaud Brayard, Kevin G. Bylund, James F. Jenks, Gilles Escarguel, Nicolas Olivier, Daniel A. Stephen, Emmanuelle Vennin & Emmanuel Fara


We describe Superstesaster promissor gen. et sp. nov., a starfish from the Smithian (Early Triassic) of Utah (USA) that fills a major gap in the fossil record of the Asteroidea. The post-Palaeozoic crown group Asteroidea are distinct from any of the diverse Palaeozoic forms. However, current understanding of the Palaeozoic–Mesozoic transition is blurred by a large gap in the fossil record between the Early Permian and the Middle Triassic. Building on the newly described taxon, a phylogenetic analysis investigates the relationships between Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Asteroidea. Including 30 species and 70 morphological characters, it is the most comprehensive phylogeny produced for fossil starfishes so far. Relationships among Palaeozoic forms remain poorly resolved, but their position in the tree is grossly consistent with stratigraphy. The tree topology implies the appearance of a wide range of morphologies during the Ordovician, a bottleneck during the end-Devonian events, and a second diversification during the Carboniferous, before a diversity decline at the end of the Permian. Superstesaster promissor nests above Palaeozoic taxa and appears as the sister group to the post-Palaeozoic Asteroidea. It represents the first record of a member of the stem group in the Mesozoic, and it likely reflects the ancestral morphology of the crown group. S. promissor shares with the crown group typical ambulacral and adambulacral plate shape and articulation. Phylogenetic relationships within the crown group remain poorly resolved, although three clades are consistent with molecular and morphological phylogenies available for extant forms: Valvatacea (Comptoniaster, Pentasteria, Advenaster, Noviaster), Forcipulatacea (Germanasterias, Argoviaster) and Velatida (Tropidaster, Protremaster). A Triassic and Jurassic radiation of the crown group is confirmed. Most Triassic and Jurassic forms do not share all synapomorphies with extant clades and usually represent separate clades or stem members of modern clades rather than true members of modern families.

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Keywords: TriassicAsteroideaphylogenynew taxon

READ IT HERE: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14772019.2017.1308972

Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)