Aerliceaster nexosus n. gen. n. sp. (Echinodermata), one of the oldest of known asteroids, is based on six specimens from the Floian (Early Ordovician) Garden City Formation of Idaho, and Kolataster perplexus n. gen. n. sp. is based on two specimens from the Sandian (Late Ordovician) Mifflin Formation of Illinois. Although the asterozoan skeleton is subdivided into few ossicular categories, evolutionary derivations of all the categories are not fully established, and therefore published evaluations differ. Beginning with phylogenetic work placing asteroid ancestry within the Somasteroidea together with the new taxa described herein, aspects of early asteroid morphology are evaluated and ambiguities in need of further study identified. Uncertainties are considered to be founded in rapid early asterozoan diversification and the scanty fossil record.

UUID: http://zoobank.org/b43d07cc-c8fb-4a84-bc6f-40aa6e0daea2

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