Meet Orthrozanclus (down with phyla!)

conwaymorris1LR.jpgI missed this one a week or two ago. Simon Conway Morris and his colleague Jean-Bernard Caron published a paper in Science on a new Cambrian fossil called Orthrozanclus. The cool thing about the fossil is that it combines features from two other fossils that Conway Morris previously implicated as transitional stem groups between the modern crown groups (“phyla”) of mollusks, annelids, and brachiopods: Wiwaxia and Halkeria. Of course, according to Discovery Institute propaganda, transitional fossils like this don’t exist.

Here is a news summary. See also the Orthrozanclus post from PZ Myers, his post last year on another stem group mollusk-ish critter, Odontogriphus.