Samuel Zamora

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Echinoderms are unique in being pentaradiate, having diverged from the ancestral bilaterian body plan more radically than any other animal phylum. This transformation arises during ontogeny, as echinoderm larvae are initially bilateral, then pass through an asymmetric phase, before giving rise to the pentaradiate adult. Many fossil echinoderms are radial(More)
The earliest fossil echinoderms have, until now, come almost exclusively from North America and are represented by few taxa, all of which have a radiate body plan. Here we report the discovery of two new echinoderm faunas from the early part of the Cambrian of Morocco (West Gondwana). The former represents the oldest echinoderm fauna from Gondwana,(More)
Feeding arms carrying coelomic extensions of the theca are thought to be unique to crinoids among stemmed echinoderms. However, a new two-armed echinoderm from the earliest Middle Cambrian of Spain displays a highly unexpected morphology. X-ray microtomographic analysis of its arms shows they are polyplated in their proximal part with a dorsal series of(More)
Echinoderms are unique among animal phyla in having a pentaradial body plan, and their fossil record provides critical data on how this novel organization came about by revealing intermediate stages. Here, we report a spiral-plated animal from the early Cambrian of Morocco that is the most primitive pentaradial echinoderm yet discovered. It is intermediate(More)
Reconstructing the feeding mode of the latest common ancestor of deuterostomes is key to elucidating the early evolution of feeding in chordates and allied phyla; however, it is debated whether the ancestral deuterostome was a tentaculate feeder or a pharyngeal filter feeder. To address this, we evaluated the hydrodynamics of feeding in a group of fossil(More)
Echinoderms possess a skeleton with a unique and distinctive meshlike microstructure called stereom that is underpinned by a specific family of genes. Stereom is thus considered the major echinoderm synapomorphy and is recognized already in some Cambrian echinoderm clades. However, data on the skeletal microstructures of early echinoderms are still sparse(More)
The phylogenetic relationships between major groups of plesiomorphic pentaradial echinoderms, the Paleozoic crinoids, blastozoans, and edrioasteroids, are poorly understood because of a lack of widely recognized homologies. Here, we present newly recognized oral region homologies, based on the Universal Elemental Homology model for skeletal plates, in a(More)
Complete, articulated crinoids from the Ordovician peri-Gondwanan margin are rare. Here, we describe a new species, Iocrinus africanus sp. nov., from the Darriwilian-age Taddrist Formation of Morocco. The anatomy of this species was studied using a combination of traditional palaeontological methods and non-destructive X-ray micro-tomography (micro-CT).(More)
Complete, articulated crinoids from the Ordovician peri-Gondwanan margin are rare. Here, we describe a new species, Iocrinus africanus sp. nov., from the Darriwilian-age Taddrist Formation of Morocco.The anatomy of this species was studied using a combination of traditional palaeontological methods and non-destructive X-ray micro-tomography (microCT). This(More)
Pleurocystitid rhombiferans are among the most unusual echinoderms whose mode of life has been long debated. These echinoderms are usually interpreted as vagile epibenthic echinoderms, moving over the sea bottom by means of a flexible stem. Although their life habits and posture are reasonably well understood, the mechanisms that control the movement of(More)