Head Segmentation in Early Cambrian Fuxianhuia: Implications for Arthropod Evolution

Science  02 Jun 1995:
Vol. 268, Issue 5215, pp. 1339-1343
DOI: 10.1126/science.268.5215.1339


The arthropod Fuxianhuia from the Chengjiang fauna displays primitive aspects of cephalic segmentation and trunk limb morphology that indicate a basal position within Euarthropoda. The cephalon consists of an eye-bearing sclerite that articulates with a head shield bearing antennules and subchelate appendages. Eye stalks, antennules, and subchelate appendages are proto-, deuto-, and tritocerebral limbs and organs, respectovely. The anterior position of the eye-bearing sclerite parallels the embryonic origin of arthropod eye lobes. The head of Fuxianhuia includes the acron and one somite and is regarded as a protocephalon. The definitive head of arthropods may have fused separate eye-bearing and appendage-bearing sclerites.