From weird wonders to stem lineages: the second reclassification of the Burgess Shale fauna.

  title={From weird wonders to stem lineages: the second reclassification of the Burgess Shale fauna.},
  author={Keynyn Brysse},
  journal={Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences},
  volume={39 3},
  • Keynyn Brysse
  • Published 1 September 2008
  • Environmental Science
  • Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences

Extraordinary fossils reveal the nature of Cambrian life: a commentary on Whittington (1975) ‘The enigmatic animal Opabinia regalis, Middle Cambrian, Burgess Shale, British Columbia’

  • D. Briggs
  • Geography
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
  • 2015
Although Opabinia initially defied assignment to any group of modern animals, it is now interpreted as lying below anomalocaridids on the stem leading to the living arthropods, and significantly augmented the information available on this critical interval in the history of life.

Wonderful Life Revisited: Chance and contingency in the Ediacaran-Cambrian radiation

In his 1989 book Wonderful Life Stephen Jay Gould employed the fossils of the middle Cambrian Burgess Shale to argue for a pervasive role of contingency in the history of life. But Gould wrote at the

The cambrian substrate revolution and early evolution of the phyla

Evidence from Precambrian carbonate and siliciclastic sedimentary structures indicates that in marine settings before the Cambrian conditions of seafloor environments were largely controlled by

Pikaia gracilens Walcott: stem chordate, or already specialized in the Cambrian?

  • J. MallattN. Holland
  • Biology
    Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution
  • 2013
A cladistic analysis showed the character interpretations of CMC are consistent with their wide-ranging evolutionary scenario, but that these interpretations leave unresolved the position of Pikaia within chordates.

Chance, Evolution, and the Metaphysical Implications of Paleontological Practice

  • A. Love
  • Philosophy
    Abrahamic Reflections on Randomness and Providence
  • 2021
For several decades, a debate has been waged over how to interpret the significance of fossils from the Burgess Shale and Cambrian Explosion. Stephen Jay Gould argued that if the “tape of life” was

Epistemic values in the Burgess Shale debate.

  • Christian Baron
  • Philosophy
    Studies in history and philosophy of biological and biomedical sciences
  • 2009

Viewing the Ediacaran biota as a failed experiment is unhelpful

  • F. DunnA. Liu
  • Environmental Science
    Nature Ecology & Evolution
  • 2019
It is argued that the field of Ediacaran palaeobiology should dispense with unhelpful historical classification schemes and embrace phylogenetic systematics if it is to establish the evolutionary relevance of these fossils.

Convergent evolution as natural experiment: the tape of life reconsidered

It is shown that under the right conditions, episodes of convergent evolution can constitute valid natural experiments that support inferences regarding the deep counterfactual stability of macroevolutionary outcomes and is argued that proponents of convergence have problematically lumped causally heterogeneous phenomena into a single evidentiary basket.

Typological thinking

A popular narrative about the history of modern biology has it that Ernst Mayr introduced the distinction between “typological thinking” and “population thinking” to mark a contrast between a

Typological thinking: Then and now

  • J. Witteveen
  • Art
    Journal of experimental zoology. Part B, Molecular and developmental evolution
  • 2018
It is shown that the authors can make historical and philosophical sense of the continued accusations of typological thinking by looking beyond Mayr, to his contemporary and colleague George Gaylord Simpson, who introduced the typology/population distinction to mark several contrasts in methodology and scientific practice.



Wonderful strife: systematics, stem groups, and the phylogenetic signal of the Cambrian radiation

Gould's Wonderful Life (1989) was a landmark in the investigation of the Cambrian radiation, arguing that a number of experimental body plans had evolved only to become extinct, and that the Cambrians was a time of special fecundity in animal design.

The “evolution” of Anomalocaris and its classification in the arthropod class Dinocarida (nov.) and order Radiodonta (nov.)

  • D. Collins
  • Environmental Science
    Journal of Paleontology
  • 1996
The remarkable “evolution” of the reconstructions of Anomalocaris, the extraordinary predator from the 515 million year old Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale of British Columbia, reflects the dramatic

A critical reappraisal of the fossil record of the bilaterian phyla

  • G. BuddS. Jensen
  • Biology
    Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society
  • 2000
It is shown that the prospect of lineage diversification occurring early in the Proterozoic can be seen to be unlikely on grounds of both parsimony and functional morphology, and this analysis points to the requirement for a careful application of systematic methodology before explanations are sought for alleged patterns of constraint and flexibility.

A soft-bodied mollusc with radula from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale

Odontogriphus omalus is interpreted to be members of an early stem-group mollusc lineage that probably originated in the Neoproterozoic Ediacaran Period, providing support for the retention of a biomat-based grazing community from the late Precambrian Period until at least the Middle Cambrian.

The Early Radiation and Relationships of the Major Arthropod Groups

Cladistic analysis of characters of Cambrian and living representatives (excluding Uniramia) shows that trilobites and chelicerates are relatively advanced compared with "crustaceans," and there are doubts whether the latter constitute a national group.

Significance of Fossils in Determining Evolutionary Relationships

It is the dissemination and development of those ideas that have called the role of fossils into question, and necessitated this review, that are called into question.

The Cambrian Fossil Record and the Origin of the Phyla1

  • G. Budd
  • Geography, Environmental Science
    Integrative and comparative biology
  • 2003
Recent changes in absolute dating of the Cambrian have refined the period of time that the fossil record might be of most help in revealing the dynamics of the undoubted radiation taking place at this time.

The morphology and phylogenetic significance of Kerygmachela kierkegaardi Budd (Buen Formation, Lower Cambrian, N Greenland)

  • G. Budd
  • Biology, Geography
    Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences
  • 1998
The combination of characters found in Kerygmachela allows it to be allied with the lobopods, represented in the extant fauna by the onychophorans, tardigrades, and possibly the pentastomids, and in the Cambrian fossil record by a morphologically diverse set of taxa, some of which are not assignable to the extant groupings.

Extraordinary fossil biotas: their ecological and evolutionary significance. Introduction

Soft-bodied animals dominate modern marine faunas, and may well have done so since the Precambrian, and the fossil Lagerstatten in which such animals are preserved provide unique insights into past communities.

The Early Cambrian Radiation of Arthropods

The characteristically jointed limbs give the phylum its name, but there are other uniting characters, such as the possession of a hemocoel, and the common occurrence of compound eyes, that make it a monophyletic group.