Primitive echinoderms and the origin of the modern body plan

Evolution of the pentaradiate body plan

The fossil record provides a direct record of the body plan organisation of echinoderms before they had firmly adopted a pentaradiate pattern.

By studying these extinct pre-radiate groups we can build up a picture of how such a singular body plan arose from a bilaterian ancestor.

Origins of living echinoderm classes

Work is also going on to trace the origins of the major echinoderm classes still in existence, particularly:

  • holothurians
  • echinoids
Staff involved in this research:

Dr Andrew Smith