Abstract

Apektocrinus ubaghsi new genus and species is a monospecific taxon assigned to the new family Apektocrinidae based on additional preparation of a single previously studied specimen. Apektocrinus is among the oldest known crinoids (Early Tremadoc, Early Ordovician). Although expressing crinoid apomorphies, it is interpreted as retaining plesiomorphies in its arms reflecting early edrioasteroid rather than blastozoan (eocrinoid) ancestry. Apomorphies represent basal crinoid and cladid (crownward) levels of phylogeny.

Restudy fortifies previous reports of the presence of a basal echinoderm plesiomorphy; floor plates above brachials in the arms of Apektocrinus, as well as in other approximately contemporary crinoids. Apektocrinus furnishes the first record of podial basins in crinoid arms. Arms and calyx of Apektocrinus merge gradually, facilitated by continuations of interbrachials (extraxial body plates) extending onto the arms and separating floor plates from brachials. These arm interbrachials, which diminish and pinch out distally as floor plates nestle into the brachial (adoral) groove, have not been recognized as such in crinoids.

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