The tradition in books with the words ‘origin’ and ‘vertebrates’ in the title is for the author to present a new scheme of vertebrate origins which is held to be better than its predecessors for this or that reason. Please, then, indulge me, with your permission to break the mould. The intention of this book was to present contrasting ideas, for the stimulation of new lines of inquiry, not to attempt my own synthesis. Although in its prosecution I have, occasionally, thought to come out with some grand phylogenetic statement, I decided in the end to stay true to my original plan. In the course of this book I have set up — only to knock down again — Gaskell and Patten, Hubrecht and Willmer, Berrill and Jefferies, eminent scholars all. After such cruelty one might understand why I am reluctant to expose my own hostages to fortune.
KeywordsPhylogenetic Reconstruction Body Plan Ciliated Band Multicellular Animal Cambrian Explosion
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