Morphological paradox of disparid crinoids (Echinodermata): phylogenetic analysis of a Paleozoic clade

  • William I. Ausich
Regular Research Article


Phylogenetic relationships within the parvclass Disparida are evaluated using parsimony-based phylogenetic methods. The Disparida is a combination of forms with simplified morphologies and forms with highly specialized morphologies. The latter, e.g., Acolocrinidae, Calceocrinidae, Catillocrinidae, and Myelodactylidae, are consistently identified as clades, as are some simplified forms, such as the Allagecrinidae, Eustenocrinidae, and Tetragonocrinidae. The Iocrinidae is typically recovered as a paraphyletic grade between the outgroup the oldest disparid, Alphacrinus, and more tipward disparids. The primary aspects of disparid phylogeny that remain ambiguous using parsimony analysis are the Cincinnaticrinidae and Homocrinidae, each of which is broadly paraphyletic with taxa in basal and/or derived positions, the status of several monogeneric families, and the phylogenetic position of disparids too poorly known to include in phylogenetic analysis.


Crinoidea Disparida Phylogeny Ordovician Silurian 



S.R. Cole ran the analyses for the time-scaled tree and the stratigraphic congruence metrics. S.R. Cole, D.F. Wright, E.C. Rhenberg, and T.W. Kammer are also thanked for improving preliminary drafts of this manuscript and/or for discussions of various ideas leading to this manuscript. Careful reviews by two anonymous reviewers significantly improved this manuscript. Also, we thank the following (in alphabetical order) for assistance with curated specimens: Tiffany Adrain, University of Iowa; Roger Burkhalter, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History University of Oklahoma; Jessica Cundiff, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University; Jean Dougherty, Geological Survey of Canada, Ottawa; Tim Ewin, Natural History Museum, London; Kathy Hollis, US National Museum of Natural History; Brenda Hunda Cincinnati Museum Center; Kathy Leacock, Buffalo Museum of Science; Franz-Josef Lindemann, Natural History Museum, University of Oslo; Paul Mayer, Field Museum of Natural History; Ann Molineux, University of Texas, Austin; Sergey Rozhnov and G.V. Mirantsev, Borissiak Paleontological Institute, Moscow; Janet Waddington, Royal Ontario Museum. David Swofford made PAUP 4.0a142 available for this research. This research was supported by the US National Science Foundation project Assembling the Echinoderm Tree of Life (DEB 1036416).

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© Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Earth SciencesOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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