Christians, stop doing this »« 18 August 1976

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  1. says

    I suspect Martin Smith’s blog post is laying it on a wee bit too thick. Reading it, you’d imagine that up until now, everyone thought Hallucigenia was of completely unknown affinity, and that

    … for the first time, a new study we published today in Nature links Hallucigenia to a modern group of animals – the rainforest-dwelling velvet worms.

    Alas, today’s coverage in the popular science press swallows this whole.

    In fact, the onychophoran identity of Hallucigenia has been suspected for over 20 years. I recall when a paper by Ramsköold and Hou came out and received a lot of coverage. One of Stephen Jay Gould’s examples of Cambrian organisms that had no relatives in later fauna had collapsed. In fact, Steohen Jay Gould discussed the revelation in his 1990 essay The Reversal of Hallucigenia which he published in Eight Little Piggies.

    No doubt Martin Smith would argue that the interesting new evidence is the first real evidence. He gets to have his opinion, but the identity of Hallucigenia as an onychophoran is fairly well-established, and has been for two decades.

  2. saganite says

    Aw, that sure is cute-looking. Although my favourite oddities are still the tardigrades. Such cuddly creatures! And so tough, too.

  3. pentatomid says

    the identity of Hallucigenia as an onychophoran is fairly well-established, and has been for two decades.

    Yeah, that’s what I thought when I read this. For a minute I thought I might have been thinking of the wrong critter. Nice to know I was remembering correctly.

  4. moarscienceplz says

    But Hallucigenia’s new position on the tree of life closes the gaps between these modern groups, and shows that Cambrian evolution proceeded in small increments rather than great leaps.

    Can we finally stop calling it the Cambrian explosion now? Maybe the Cambrian smolder?

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