Evidence for Monophyly and Arthropod Affinity of Cambrian Giant Predators

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Science  27 May 1994:
Vol. 264, Issue 5163, pp. 1304-1308
DOI: 10.1126/science.264.5163.1304


The Chinese Early Cambrian Chengjiang fauna includes three different anomalocaridids, a globally spread, extinct marine group including the largest known Cambrian animals. Anomalocaridids were active predators, and their presence implies that a complex ecosystem appeared abruptly in the earliest Phanerozoic. Complete specimens display several sets of characters shared only with some other exclusively Cambrian forms. This evidence indicates that anomalocaridids, Opabinia, and Kerygmachela form a monophyletic clade. Certain features indicate arthropod affinities of the lade, and for this group an unnamed (sub)phylum-level taxon within an arthropod (super)phylum is proposed.