Stem tetrapoda

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Tiktaalik, a tetrapodomorph with wrists, straddles the fish-tetrapod divide

The Stem Tetrapoda are a cladistically defined group, consisting of all animals more closely related to extant four legged vertebrates than to their closest extant relatives (the lungfish), but excluding the crown group Tetrapoda. They are thus paraphyletic, though acceptable in phylogenetic nomenclature as the group is defined by strict reference to phylogeny rather than to traits as in traditional systematics.

Content of the group[edit]

Stem tetrapods are members of Tetrapodomorpha, which unlike the Stem Tetrapoda, are a total group and thus a true clade, including stem tetrapods and their descendants, crown tetrapods:[1]

The stem Tetrapoda encompass three distinct grades successively closer to crown group Tetrapoda:[2]

Both Ichthyostegalia and Labyrinthodontia constitute paraphyletic evolutionary grades rather than clades, with amniotes and modern amphibians branching off at some point from the latter. The stem tetrapods may also include one or both of Temnospondyli and Lepospondyli, depending on author. This is due to the uncertain origin of the modern amphibians, whose position in the phylogenetic tree dictates what lineages go in the crown group Tetrapoda.[3][4] Neither is there for the moment a consensus of the phylogeny of stem tetrapods, nor how Tetrapoda itself should be defined (i.e. as a crown group, or as an apomorphy-based group, using the limb with digits),[5] making the actual content of the group uncertain.[6][7][8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Coates, M.I.; Ruta, M.; Friedman, M. (2008). "Ever Since Owen: Changing Perspectives on the Early Evolution of Tetrapods". Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 39: 571–92. doi:10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.38.091206.095546. 
  2. ^ Ahlberg, P. E.; Johanson, Z. (1998). "Osteolepiforms and the ancestry of tetrapods". Nature 395 (6704): 792–794. Bibcode:1998Natur.395..792A. doi:10.1038/27421. 
  3. ^ Sigurdsen, T.; Green, D.M. (2011). "The origin of modern amphibians: a re-evaluation". Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 162 (2): 457–469. doi:10.1111/j.1096-3642.2010.00683.x. 
  4. ^ Marjanović D, Laurin M. 2013. The origin(s) of extant amphibians: a review with emphasis on the “lepospondyl hypothesis”. Geodiversitas 35: 207–272. http://dx.doi.org/10.5252/g2013n1a8
  5. ^ Laurin M, Anderson JS. 2004. Meaning of the name Tetrapoda in the scientific literature: an exchange. Systematic Biology 53: 68-80. DOI: 10.1080/10635150490264716
  6. ^ Carroll, R.L. (2001): The origin and early radiation of terrestrial vertebrates. Journal of Paleontology no 75(6), pp 1202–1213 PDF
  7. ^ Laurin, M. (1996): Phylogeny of Stegocephalians, from the Tree of Life Web Project
  8. ^ Laurin M. 1998. The importance of global parsimony and historical bias in understanding tetrapod evolution. Part I. Systematics, middle ear evolution, and jaw suspension. Annales des Sciences Naturelles, Zoologie, Paris, 13e Série 19: 1-42.