Research NewsPaleontology

Viewing Velvet Worms in Amber

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Science  06 Sep 1996:
Vol. 273, Issue 5280, pp. 1340
DOI: 10.1126/science.273.5280.1340


The velvet worms, soft-bodied invertebrates that today roam the forest floors of the Southern Hemisphere, have been proposed to be an evolutionary link between the segmented worms, or annelids, and the wildly diverse arthropods. But the velvet worms' family relations have long been a source of debate, in part because their fossil record is so spotty. A Report on page 1370 of this issue presents new specimens, 20 million to 40 million years old and preserved in amber, that may link even more ancient fossil forms and the living creatures.