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Evaluating phylogenetic hypotheses of carpoids using stratigraphic congruence indices





Imran A. Rahman [] and Mark D. Sutton [], Department of Earth Science and Engineering, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK; Mark A. Bell [], Department of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1RJ, UK and Department of Palaeontology, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK


Fossil carpoids possess a unique anatomy that is difficult to interpret; as a result, there are a number of competing phylogenetic hypotheses for carpoid taxa. Stratigraphic congruence indices provide a quantitative means of evaluating alternative cladograms where character coding is contentious; trees that show a statistically significant fit between stratigraphy and phylogeny are better supported by the fossil record. We here test the agreement between stratigraphic and cladistic data for 27 carpoid cladograms (24 have previously been published, three are novel). The results demonstrate that in analyses of subsets of carpoid taxa, the stratigraphic congruence of trees is not strongly affected by the interpretative model followed. However, when studying the relationships of carpoids with other deuterostomes, assuming that carpoids should be interpreted by reference to chordates/hemichordates (rather than echinoderms) leads to a poorer fit with the known stratigraphic ranges of taxa. Thus, the disputed calcichordate hypothesis (carpoids interpreted as stem and crown-group chordates and stem-group hemichordates) is much less congruent with stratigraphy than alternative models interpreting carpoids as stem or crown-group echinoderms.