Project VII: Homology of early echinoderm anatomy

The fossil record of echinoderms has been examined for over two centuries by a variety of scientists across the world.  Differences in language and interpretation have resulted great confusion in terminology within and between groups.  Some terms, like oral plate, have been applied to several different non-homologous skeletal elements in different groups.  Other times, homologous elements, such as deltoid plates in blastoids, and oral plates in rhombiferans, are given different names.  This portion of the project aims at placing all of echinoderm morphological terminology into a common lexicon of terms so that scientists working in different groups can easily communicate.  So far a universal elemental homology (UEH) scheme has been developed for stemmed echinoderms.  This has shown great promise for helping to unravel the complex relationships between major echinoderm groups.

Future goals include expanding this homology scheme to the eleutherozoan groups.

Paleozoic echinoderms with homologous elements colored using universal elemental homology (UEH) 1) the parablastoid Eurekablastus, 2) the blastoid Pentremites, 3) the diploporan Eumorphocystis, 4) the Coronate, Stephanocrinus.

Paleozoic echinoderms with homologous elements colored using universal elemental homology (UEH) 1) the parablastoid Eurekablastus, 2) the blastoid Pentremites, 3) the diploporan Eumorphocystis, 4) the Coronate, Stephanocrinus.