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Palaeontology Seminar


Trilobitomorph trunk segmentation: a tale of trilobites, myriapods and their genes


Javier Ortega-Hernández,

Department of Earth Sciences,

University of Cambridge


Thursday 10th May, 16:00
Neil Chalmers Seminar Room, DC2,



Trilobites are some of the most common and abundant metazoans preserved in the fossil record, but little is known about the intrinsic mechanisms that orchestrate their body organization. The phylogenetic position of trilobites within total-group Euarthropoda, however, allows making inferences about the processes of segment formation in these extinct taxa, as some of the fundamental genetic processes for constructing the body segments are remarkably conserved among extant arthropods. In this talk I will tackle the problem of trilobite trunk segmentation by drawing comparisons with conserved mechanisms for tergite formation, and its associated gene expression, in extant representatives. The results obtained from studying the tergite development in the centipede Strigamia maritima revives old trilobite segmentation models, and suggest that these extinct arthropods had a considerable, and largely unsuspected, degree of developmental complexity.



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