Abstract

The classification at present applied in the study of fossil holothurian sclerites is briefly outlined, and a major difficulty in the selection of valid criteria for the "speciation" of such microfossils is discussed. Groups of morphologically similar sclerites (morphogroups) derived from the Recent holothurians Holothuria impatiens (Forskael) and Cucumaria saxicola Brady and Robertson are subjected to statistical analysis by standard univariate and bivariate techniques. The results are discussed in detail, and broad conclusions are drawn as to the application of statistical methods as an objective basis for the taxonomy (qua parataxonomy) of fossil morphogroups. A less rigid approach to the concept of the "type specimen" of the "species" is recommended.

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