Ctenophores and extinct subkingdoms

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Paul Ciszek

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Sep 29, 2014, 6:13:04 PM9/29/14
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So, there have been claims for some time now that ctenophora are a
sister-group to all other metazoans, and recent genetic studies
have re-inforced this. Clade-wise, some node splits into ctenophra
and porifera, and eumetazoa branch out of one of the types of
porifera. Or probably one node branched out into the porifera we
know about and some other porifera that we don't, and the ctenophora
branched out of a type of porifera that isn't around anymore.

Elsewhere, Wiki claims that extant ctenophores probably descend from
a common ancestor as recently as the KT extinction event.

Putting this two together, I read that to mean that there used to be
an entire sub-kingdom of metazoa, more different from us than we are
from sponges, that was reduced to a single species by the KT event.
Am I interpreting this stuff correctly?

What other subkingdoms might we have lost completely in, say, the
Permian extinction and aren't even aware that they ever existed?

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pciszek at panix dot com | for variety, not superiority."
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Oxyaena

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Nov 22, 2014, 11:55:14 PM11/22/14
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nos...@nospam.com (Paul Ciszek) wrote:
> So, there have been claims for some time now that ctenophora are a
> sister-group to all other metazoans, and recent genetic studies
> have re-inforced this. Clade-wise, some node splits into ctenophra
> and porifera, and eumetazoa branch out of one of the types of
> porifera. Or probably one node branched out into the porifera we
> know about and some other porifera that we don't, and the ctenophora
> branched out of a type of porifera that isn't around anymore.
>
> Elsewhere, Wiki claims that extant ctenophores probably descend from
> a common ancestor as recently as the KT extinction event.
>
> Putting this two together, I read that to mean that there used to be
> an entire sub-kingdom of metazoa, more different from us than we are
> from sponges, that was reduced to a single species by the KT event.
> Am I interpreting this stuff correctly?
>
> What other subkingdoms might we have lost completely in, say, the
> Permian extinction and aren't even aware that they ever existed?
>
Numerous subkingdoms could have been lost, the chance of an organism
fossilizing is next to nothing, you have to be in the right area for
fossilization, such as a floodplain, and there are other factors to,
such as if any scavengers get to the remains, does the dead organism
have hard parts or is just a blob of soft tissues, etc.

--
--- Lord Creodont, FRCS

Oxyaena

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Nov 24, 2014, 12:00:11 AM11/24/14
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nos...@nospam.com (Paul Ciszek) wrote:
> So, there have been claims for some time now that ctenophora are a
> sister-group to all other metazoans, and recent genetic studies
> have re-inforced this. Clade-wise, some node splits into ctenophra
> and porifera, and eumetazoa branch out of one of the types of
> porifera. Or probably one node branched out into the porifera we
> know about and some other porifera that we don't, and the ctenophora
> branched out of a type of porifera that isn't around anymore.
>
> Elsewhere, Wiki claims that extant ctenophores probably descend from
> a common ancestor as recently as the KT extinction event.
>
> Putting this two together, I read that to mean that there used to be
> an entire sub-kingdom of metazoa, more different from us than we are
> from sponges, that was reduced to a single species by the KT event.
> Am I interpreting this stuff correctly?
>
> What other subkingdoms might we have lost completely in, say, the
> Permian extinction and aren't even aware that they ever existed?
>

nyi...@bellsouth.net

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Nov 25, 2014, 3:30:07 PM11/25/14
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On Saturday, November 22, 2014 11:55:14 PM UTC-5, Oxyaena wrote:
> nos...@nospam.com (Paul Ciszek) wrote:
> > So, there have been claims for some time now that ctenophora are a
> > sister-group to all other metazoans, and recent genetic studies
> > have re-inforced this.

Molecular classifications seem to have completely pushed morphological
ones aside -- wherever there is a discrepancy between them, the "consensus"
seems to be that the molecular systematics is the one to follow.

Morphologically, it seems to make no sense for poriferans to be descended
from ctenophores--at least, not ctenophores like the ones we see.

> > Clade-wise, some node splits into ctenophra
> > and porifera, and eumetazoa branch out of one of the types of
> > porifera. Or probably one node branched out into the porifera we
> > know about and some other porifera that we don't, and the ctenophora
> > branched out of a type of porifera that isn't around anymore.
> >
> > Elsewhere, Wiki claims that extant ctenophores probably descend from
> > a common ancestor as recently as the KT extinction event.

If so, that ctenophore was a "living fossil" since ctenophore fossils
almost indistinguishable from living ones, morphologically, have been
found in the Chengyang shales from 520 or more million years ago. There
is an exquisite photograph of one of these fossils in _Darwin's Doubt_,
by Stephen Meyer.

> > Putting this two together, I read that to mean that there used to be
> > an entire sub-kingdom of metazoa, more different from us than we are
> > from sponges, that was reduced to a single species by the KT event.
> > Am I interpreting this stuff correctly?

I believe you are not. Calling something a subkingdom simply because
it branched off from other extant representatives of a kingdom,
and assuming that this "ghost subkingdom" was full of alien-seeming
creatures, makes for poor systematics. Ever since the cladophiles have
banished taxa higher than species and genus, and all paraphyletic taxa,
this kind of talk is creeping in.

> > What other subkingdoms might we have lost completely in, say, the
> > Permian extinction and aren't even aware that they ever existed?
> >
> Numerous subkingdoms could have been lost, the chance of an organism
> fossilizing is next to nothing, you have to be in the right area for
> fossilization, such as a floodplain, and there are other factors to,
> such as if any scavengers get to the remains, does the dead organism
> have hard parts or is just a blob of soft tissues, etc.


That ctenophore fossil of the Cambrian had an imprint of soft tissues.

Imprints of soft tissues have been preserved in the Burgess shales,
in the Chengyang shales, and quite a few other (but rare and to be treasured)
sites known collectively as Konservat Lagerstaette. You can read about
them here:

http://www.fossilmuseum.net/fossilrecord/Lagerstatte.htm#Konservat

Wikipedia has a listing of the known ones.

Peter Nyikos
Professor, Dept. of Mathematics -- standard disclaimer--
University of South Carolina
http://people.math.sc.edu/nyikos/
nyikos @ math.sc.edu

Oxyaena

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Nov 28, 2014, 1:19:58 AM11/28/14
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>> Numerous subkingdoms could have been lost, the chance of an organism
>> fossilizing is next to nothing, you have to be in the right area for
>> fossilization, such as a floodplain, and there are other factors to,
>> such as if any scavengers get to the remains, does the dead organism
>> have hard parts or is just a blob of soft tissues, etc.
>
>
> That ctenophore fossil of the Cambrian had an imprint of soft tissues.
>
> Imprints of soft tissues have been preserved in the Burgess shales,
> in the Chengyang shales, and quite a few other (but rare and to be treasured)
> sites known collectively as Konservat Lagerstaette. You can read about
> them here:
>
> http://www.fossilmuseum.net/fossilrecord/Lagerstatte.htm#Konservat
>
> Wikipedia has a listing of the known ones.
>
> Peter Nyikos
> Professor, Dept. of Mathematics -- standard disclaimer--
> University of South Carolina
> http://people.math.sc.edu/nyikos/
> nyikos @ math.sc.edu
>
Yes, but did you not see the one section of the post where I detailed
that fossilization depends on a wide variety of factors.

I already am aware of lagerstaette, for example the Green River and
Messel pit formations are lagerstaette.

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