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HomeBiologyAssembly report: Fossils, Phylogenies, Genomes, Embryos & the Evolution of the Deuterostomes

Assembly report: Fossils, Phylogenies, Genomes, Embryos & the Evolution of the Deuterostomes


The Fossils, Phylogenies, Genomes, Embryos & the Evolution of the Deuterostomes symposium passed off on the Pure Historical past Museum in London to honour the work and contributions of the late palaeontologist R.P.S. ‘Dick’ Jefferies. In a discipline that’s usually trying to the long run, it may be straightforward to take with no consideration the work that has come earlier than or to miss the early iterations of hypotheses we examine immediately. This good symposium, that includes audio system working throughout the scope of deuterostome evolution, was a becoming celebration of the pioneering work carried out by Dick Jefferies.

Becoming a member of the British Museum within the Nineteen Sixties, Dick’s analysis centered on deuterostome fossils. Though a lot of his predictions have subsequently been disproved, a few of his then-radical concepts have in reality been confirmed by extra fashionable methods. For instance, his maybe sudden speculation of a clade comprising the tunicates and vertebrates (the Olfactores), has been subsequently supported by molecular knowledge. Trendy imaging approaches have additionally been key to confirming the validity of a few of his concepts. An excellent discuss by Imran Rahman confirmed stunning high-resolution X-ray scans supporting Jefferies’ concept of gill slits in early echinoderm fossils referred to as the Stylophora. A very entertaining discuss by Bertrand Lefebvre to spherical out the day detailed the painstakingly gradual fossil sectioning-and-tracing method employed by Jefferies’ to attract the identical hypotheses now reached with very speedy microscopy approaches.

A specific spotlight of the symposium was the breadth of analysis represented within the talks. Developments in developmental biology may generally lean in direction of developmental genetics and -omics, however the ‘evo’ aspect of evo-devo holds worthwhile contributions for the sphere. A wonderful discuss by Elizabeth Clark detailed the modelling of locomotion from fossil traces, and a number of other talks (Paschalia Kapli, Graham Budd, Rachel Warnock) mentioned persistent issues in phylogenetics. It was nice to see the illustration of such numerous analysis, and clear that there are nonetheless many open questions within the discipline – a few of them contemplated by Jefferies himself – remaining to be answered.

The Fossils, Phylogenies, Embryos & the Evolution of the Deuterostomes assembly was held on 12 Could. It was supported by The Firm of Biologists and The Palaeontological Affiliation and organised by Max Telford, Jeffrey Thompson, Tim Ewin, Tim Littlewood, Greg Edgecombe, and Paul Barrett.

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