PHYLOGENETICS OF THE EARLY ORDOVICIAN PLIOMERID TRILOBITES PROTOPLIOMERELLA, PSEUDOCYBELE, AND RELATED TAXA: UNRAVELLING THE BASE OF THE CHEIRUROIDEAN RADIATION
Parsimony analysis of this group included 22 species coded for 40 characters and 106 character states. All characters were unordered. A species of Hintzeia served as the outgroup. An implicit enumeration search resulted in 5058 trees of length 108, consistency index .61, and retention index .80.
Prior to this analysis, Pseudocybele included only three species. Membership of Pseudocybele is increased by seven namable species, and the analysis reveals that a species previously assigned to Pseudocybele forms a new genus with six new species. The new genus is robustly supported by CI-one synapomorphies and a high bootstrap value. Results also indicate that Pseudocybele and the new genus are sister taxa, and Protopliomerella forms a grade at the base of the tree. Pseudocybele may not be monophyletic, as several members resolve outside the clade containing P. nasuta.
This explicit phylogenetic hypothesis is a starting point for further phylogeny reconstruction including related pliomerid taxa such as Cybelopsis, Strotactinus, and Hintzeia. This work will build toward a modern understanding of the inclusivity of both Pliomeridae and Cheiruridae, resolving relationships between these complex clades.