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New phylogenetic insights into the Cambrian radiation of arachnomorph arthropods

  • Jonathan R. Hendricks (a1) and Bruce S. Lieberman (a1) (a2)

The Cambrian fossil record of the Arachnomorpha is rich and diverse and includes trilobites, chelicerates, and many taxa known from various soft-bodied faunas including the Burgess Shale and the Chengjiang. Exceptionally well-preserved arthropod fossils are also known from Middle Cambrian strata in Utah. Recently, two new arachnomorphs (Dicranocaris Briggs, Lieberman, Hendricks, Halgedahl, and Jarrard, 2008 and Nettapezoura Briggs, Lieberman, Hendricks, Halgedahl, and Jarrard, 2008) were described from the Wheeler and Marjum formations of Utah. Cladistic analysis is undertaken to investigate arachnomorph relationships in light of these two new genera. The character matrix of Edgecombe and Ramsköld (1999) serves as the foundation for this study, augmented by new characters and taxa. The results of our cladistic analysis suggest that at least three distinct arachnomorph clades had diverged by the Middle Cambrian, and perhaps much earlier; the Utah genera can be referred to groups within one of these clades.

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