Gregory D Edgecombe

Gregory D Edgecombe
Natural History Museum, London · Department of Earth Sciences

PhD

About

389
Publications
242,148
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
15,589
Citations
Introduction
I am interested in higher-level relationships within Arthropoda, the early fossil record of arthropods, the systematics of centipedes, and methods that integrate palaeontological and molecular data.
Additional affiliations
July 2013 - April 2017
Natural History Museum, London
Position
  • Researcher
March 2008 - present
Imperial College London
Position
  • MSc in Systematics and Biodiversity
Description
  • Lectures in Palaeontology module
March 2007 - present
Natural History Museum, London
Position
  • Research Leader
Education
September 1987 - April 1991
Columbia University
Field of study
  • Geological Sciences
September 1985 - August 1987
University of Alberta
Field of study
  • Geology

Publications

Publications (389)
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, scientists have made remarkable progress reconstructing the animal phylogeny. There is broad agreement regarding many deep animal relationships, including the monophyly of animals, Bilateria, Protostomia, Ecdysozoa, and Spiralia. This stability now allows researchers to articulate the diminishing number of remaining questions in te...
Article
Full-text available
Myriapods, including the diverse and familiar centipedes and millipedes, are one of the dominant terrestrial arthropod groups. Although molecular evidence has shown that Myriapoda is monophyletic, its internal phylogeny remains contentious and understudied, especially when compared to those of Chelicerata and Hexapoda. Until now, efforts have focus...
Article
Trilobites are often considered exemplary for understanding the Cambrian explosion of animal life, due to their unsurpassed diversity and abundance. These biomineralized arthropods appear abruptly in the fossil record with an established diversity, phylogenetic disparity, and provincialism at the beginning of Cambrian Series 2 (∼521 Ma), suggesting...
Article
Full-text available
Radiodonts are nektonic stem-group euarthropods that played various trophic roles in Paleozoic marine ecosystems, but information on their vision is limited. Optical details exist only in one species from the Cambrian Emu Bay Shale of Australia, here assigned to Anomalocaris aff. canadensis . We identify another type of radiodont compound eye from...
Article
Identifying marine or freshwater fossils that belong to the stem groups of the major terrestrial arthropod radiations is a longstanding challenge. Molecular dating and fossils of their pancrustacean sister group predict that myriapods originated in the Cambrian, much earlier than their oldest known fossils, but uncertainty about stem group Myriapod...
Preprint
Full-text available
Aim To investigate the drivers of intra-specific genetic diversity in centipedes, a group of ancient predatory soil arthropods. Location Global Time period Present Major taxa studied Centipedes (Class: Chilopoda) Methods We assembled a database of over 1200 mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I sequences representing 120 centipede specie...
Article
Full-text available
The anterior-most unit of the crown-group arthropod body plan includes three segments, the pre-gnathal segments, that contain three neuromeres that together comprise the brain. Recent work on the development of this anterior region has shown that its three units exhibit many developmental differences to the more posterior segments, to the extent th...
Article
Variability in segment numbers in the world’s most-leggy millipede adds support to a multiplicative mode of segment generation in myriapods.
Article
Ecdysozoans (Phyla Arthropoda, Kinorhyncha, Loricifera, Nematoda, Nematomorpha, Onychophora, Priapulida, Tardigrada) are invertebrates bearing a tough, periodically moulted cuticle that predisposes them to exceptional preservation. Ecdysozoans dominate the oldest exceptionally-preserved bilaterian animal biotas in the early-mid Cambrian (∼520–508 M...
Article
Full-text available
The Western Ghats (WG) mountain chain in peninsular India is a global biodiversity hotspot, one in which patterns of phylogenetic diversity and endemism remain to be documented across taxa. We used a well‐characterized community of ancient soil predatory arthropods from the WG to understand diversity gradients, identify hotspots of endemism and con...
Article
Full-text available
An exceptionally preserved specimen of the horseshoe crab Euproops danae (Xiphosurida, Belinurina) in a siderite concretion from the Carboniferous (Upper Pennsylvanian, Virgilian) Lawrence Formation, Kansas, shows anatomical details of the prosomal musculature. The extrinsic appendicular muscles are comparable to those of Limulus polyphemus (the mo...
Article
Full-text available
Cricocosmiidae is a clade of palaeoscolecid-like worms from the Chengjiang Biota, China (Cambrian Stage 3). In contrast to palaeoscolecids sensu stricto , which exhibit tessellating micro-plate trunk ornamentation, cricocosmiids possess larger, serially repeated sets of trunk sclerites bearing resemblance to lobopodian trunk sclerites (e.g., Microd...
Article
Full-text available
The last common ancestor of all living arthropods had biramous postantennal appendages, with an endopodite and exopodite branching off the limb base. Morphological evidence for homology of these rami between crustaceans and chelicerates has, however, been challenged by data from clonal composition and from knockout of leg patterning genes. Cambrian...
Article
Full-text available
The central nervous system (CNS) presents unique insight into the behaviors and ecology of extant and extinct animal groups. However, neurological tissues are delicate and prone to rapid decay, and thus their occurrence as fossils is mostly confined to Cambrian Burgess Shale-type deposits and Cenozoic amber inclusions. We describe an exceptionally...
Article
Full-text available
Phylogenetic analyses based on molecular and morphological data were conducted to shed light on relationships within the mostly Palaearctic/Oriental centipede family Lithobiidae, with a particular focus on the Palaearctic genus Lithobius Leach, 1814 (Lithobiidae, Lithobiomorpha), which contains >500 species and subspecies. Previous studies based on...
Article
Full-text available
Durophagy arose in the Cambrian and greatly influenced the diversification of biomineralized defensive structures throughout the Phanerozoic. Spinose gnathobases on protopodites of Cambrian euarthropod limbs are considered key innovations for shell-crushing, yet few studies have demonstrated their effectiveness with biomechanical models. Here we pr...
Article
Full-text available
The Cambrian Period, primarily known for animal life diversifying, experienced global extinctions. Pulses of extinction in Cambrian Series 2 are exemplified by the disappearance of archaeocyath sponges and olenelline and redlichiid trilobites. However, the effect of such extinctions on outer shelf organisms, as typify Burgess Shale-type (BST) depos...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Ecdysozoa are the moulting protostomes, including arthropods, tardigrades, and nematodes. Both the molecular and fossil records indicate that Ecdysozoa is an ancient group originating in the terminal Proterozoic, and exceptional fossil biotas show their dominance and diversity at the beginning of the Phanerozoic. However, the nature of...
Article
Full-text available
The tracheal system of scutigeromorph centipedes (Chilopoda) is special, as it consists of dorsally arranged unpaired spiracles. In this study, we investigate the tracheal systems of five different scutigeromorph species. They are strikingly similar to each other but depict unique characters compared to the tracheal systems of pleurostigmophoran ce...
Article
Phylogenomics underpins a stable and mostly well-resolved hypothesis for the interrelationships of extant arthropods. Exceptionally preserved fossils are integrated into this framework by coding their morphological characters, as exemplified by total-evidence dating approaches that treat fossils as dated tips in analyses numerically dominated by mo...
Article
Full-text available
A new species of Cryptops , C. (Cryptops) legagus sp. nov. , occurs in caves in the Koanaka and Gcwihaba Hills in northwestern Botswana. Bayesian molecular phylogenetics using 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA, 16S rRNA and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I corroborates a morphological assignment to the subgenus Cryptops and closest affinities to southern temperate...
Preprint
Full-text available
and keywords Aim To study patterns of phylogenetic diversity, endemism and turnover in a community of ancient arthropods across a biodiversity hotspot. Our specific aims were to understand diversity gradients, identify hotspots of endemism and conservation importance, and highlight poorly-studied areas with unique biodiversity. Location The Weste...
Article
The majority of extant arachnids are terrestrial, but other chelicerates are generally aquatic, including horseshoe crabs, sea spiders, and the extinct eurypterids. It is necessary to determine whether arachnids are exclusively descended from a single common ancestor (monophyly), because only that relationship is compatible with one land colonisati...
Chapter
Although Crustacea has a long history of being recognized as a formal taxonomic group in arthropod classification, the past 30 years have witnessed repeated challenges to crustaceanmonophyly. Few unambiguous autapomorphic characters for crustaceans have been proposed by morphologists, and many diagnostic characters can be interpreted as symplesiomo...
Article
The extant genera and subgenera of the order Scolopendromorpha are critically reviewed and provided with updated diagnoses and a new identification key; the most recent revisions of scolopendromorph genera are concisely summarised. Rhoda Meinert, 1886 and Cryptops (Chromatanops) Verhoeff, 1906 are suggested to be a junior synonyms of Scolopendropsi...
Article
Full-text available
The Oriental Region has been a focus of biogeographical research for more than two centuries. We examined systematics and biogeography of the centipede genus Rhysida in this region. A robust species hypothesis for the Indian subcontinental and Southeast Asian Rhysida clade uses molecular, morphological and distribution data. Twelve species are reco...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the temporal context of terrestrialization in chelicerates depends on whether terrestrial groups, the traditional Arachnida, have a single origin and whether or not horseshoe crabs are primitively or secondarily marine. Molecular dating on a phylogenomic tree that recovers arachnid monophyly, constrained by 27 rigorously vetted fossil...
Article
Full-text available
Facivermis yunnanicus [1, 2] is an enigmatic worm-like animal from the early Cambrian Chengjiang Biota of Yunnan Province, China. It is a small (<10 cm) bilaterian with five pairs of spiny anterior arms, an elongated body, and a swollen posterior end. The unusual morphology of Facivermis has prompted a history of diverse taxonomic interpretations,...
Article
Full-text available
Trilobitomorphs are a species-rich Palaeozoic arthropod assemblage that unites trilobites with several other lineages that share similar appendage structure. Post-embryonic development of the exoskeleton is well documented for some trilobitomorphs, especially trilobites, but little is known of the ontogeny of their soft parts, limiting understandin...
Article
Full-text available
Following publication of the original article [1], the authors notified us of an error in the Results section of the Abstract. The original article has been corrected.
Article
Bird's nest ferns (Asplenium spp.) support large numbers of invertebrates, including centipedes. As top invertebrate predators, centipedes drive ecosystem function, for example, by regulating decomposer populations, but we know little of their ecology in forest canopies. We provide the first detailed observations of the diversity and structure of t...
Article
Segmentation is fundamental to the arthropod body plan. Understanding the evolutionary steps by which arthropods became segmented is being transformed by the integration of data from evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo), Cambrian fossils that allow the stepwise acquisition of segmental characters to be traced in the arthropod stem-group, a...
Article
Anomalocaris, the most well‐known genus of the diverse stem euarthropod group Radiodonta, was first reported over 100 years ago from the Burgess Shale (Canada). This large Cambrian apex predator was later treated as occurring in the southern Great Basin (California and Nevada, USA). We re‐evaluate the systematic affinities of previously described m...
Article
Machaeridians are Palaeozoic animals that are dorsally armoured with serialized, imbricating shell plates that cover or enclose the body. Prior to the discovery of an articulated plumulitid machaeridian from the Early Ordovician of Morocco that preserved unambiguous annelid characters (segmental parapodia with chaetae), machaeridians were a palaeon...
Article
Arthropods are the most diverse animal phylum, and their phylogenetic relationships have been debated for centuries. With the advent of molecular phylogenetics, arthropods were found to be monophyletic and placed within a clade of molting animals, the ecdysozoans, with nematodes and six other phyla. Molecular phylogenetics also provided a new frame...
Article
Full-text available
We found support for clades that clarified key controversies in chelicerate phylogeny. Foremost among these is the alliance between mites and ticks, resulting in a grouping of arachnids with even more species than spiders. More broadly, our results suggest that the success of the arachnid order was most likely based on a single terrestrialisation e...
Article
The origin of ctenophores (comb jellies) is obscured by their controversial phylogenetic position, with recent phylogenomic analyses resolving either sponges or ctenophores as the sister group of all other animals. Fossil taxa can provide morphological evidence that may elucidate the origins of derived characters and shared ancestries among diverge...
Article
Full-text available
Scorpions (Arachnida: Scorpiones Koch, 1837) are an ancient chelicerate arthropod lineage characterised by distinctive subdivision of the opisthosoma and venomous toxicity. The crown group is represented by over 2400 extant species, and unambiguous fossil representatives are known at least from the Cretaceous Period. However, a number of extinct sc...
Article
Full-text available
Background Understanding the relative influence of vicariance and dispersal in shaping Old World tropical biodiversity remains a challenge. We aimed to infer the roles of these alternative biogeographic processes using a species time-tree for the centipede genus Ethmostigmus from the Old World tropics. Additionally, we explored fine-scale biogeogra...
Article
Full-text available
The Upper Famennian (Upper Devonian) Strud locality has yielded very abundant and diversified flora as well as vertebrate and arthropod faunas. The arthropod fauna, mostly recovered from fine shales deposited in a calm, confined floodplain habitat including temporary pools, has delivered a putative insect and various crustaceans including eumalacos...
Article
The classification of Radiodonta is primarily based on the morphology of their frontal appendages, a main feeding structure of this iconic group of mostly Cambrian stem‐group euarthropods. However, recent progress in the description and revision of radiodont taxa, particularly drawing on their frontal appendages, has exposed morphological variation...
Article
Only a single blind species is known in the centipede family Scolopendridae, representing the monotypic genus Tonkinodentus Schileyko, 1992, from Vietnam. All of more than 400 other species have four ocelli on each side of the cephalic plate. A complex of three new blind species of the genus Cormocephalus Newport, 1844, is described from the subter...
Article
Full-text available
The Oriental Region has been a focus of biogeographical research for more than two centuries. We examined systematics and biogeography of the centipede genus Rhysida in this region. A robust species hypothesis for the Indian subcontinental and Southeast Asian Rhysida clade uses molecular, morphological and distribution data. Twelve species are reco...
Article
Full-text available
The mandibles and the first maxillae of 37 species of the family Lithobiidae (Myriapoda, Chilopoda) were investigated and compared to provide a structural overview and evaluate their significance for the systematics of the family. The species sampling focused on the genus Lithobius, examining 33 species of four subgenera (Lithobius, Monotarsobius,...
Article
A diverse millipede (diplopod) fauna has been recovered from the earliest Carboniferous (Tournaisian) Ballagan Formation of the Scottish Borders, discovered by the late Stan Wood. The material is generally fragmentary; however, six different taxa are present based on seven specimens. Only one displays enough characters for formal description and is...
Article
Full-text available
Integrative taxonomy assesses the congruence between different lines of evidence for delimiting species, such as morphological, molecular or ecological data. Herein molecular phylogenetics is used to test monophyly and determine the phylogenetic position of the Old World tropical centipede genus Ethmostigmus Pocock, 1898, and to define species boun...
Article
A recent description of paired gnathobase‐like structures (GLSs) in the head region of the radiodont Amplectobelua symbrachiata raised the question of whether these appendicular structures are more widely spread within Radiodonta, putative lower stem‐group euarthropods. Here we describe a new genus of Radiodonta, Ramskoeldia gen. nov., that also be...
Article
Full-text available
Background: The morphological and functional evolution of appendages has played a key role in the diversification of arthropods. While the ancestral arthropod appendage is held to be polyramous, terrestriality is associated with the reduction or loss of appendage rami, which may obscure the homology of different appendage derivatives. Proxies for...
Article
Full-text available
This special issue of ZooKeys assembles a collection of contemporary research devoted to myriapods presented at the 17 th International Congress of Myriapodology, held from 23 to 26 July 2017 in Krabi, Thailand. It comprises 13 articles by 35 authors from 10 countries (Austria, Australia, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Georgia, Germany, Russia, Tai...
Article
Full-text available
Morphological characters have been widely used in centipede systematics. Here, we aim to obtain morphological information from the preoral chamber and peristomatic structures of lithobiomorph centipedes, with taxonomic sampling focused on the species-rich genus Lithobius Leach, 1814. Towards this goal, we (i) examined the epipharynx and hypopharynx...
Article
Full-text available
The interrelationships of the four classes of Myriapoda have been an unresolved question in arthropod phylogenetics and an example of conflict between morphology and molecules. Morphology and development provide compelling support for Diplopoda (millipedes) and Pauropoda being closest relatives, and moderate support for Symphyla being more closely...
Article
Phylogenetic relationships of two morphologically similar scolopendrid genera, Rhysida Wood, 1862, and Alluropus Silvestri, 1912, were investigated based on broad-scale taxonomic sampling from SE Asia, India and Australia. Morphological revision and molecular phylogenetics using three loci validate seven Rhysida species in SE Asia and Australia: R....
Conference Paper
The Cambrian Explosion represents a major metazoan radiation event, which is reflected in the dramatic increase of both taxonomic and ecological diversity. In light of recent fossil discoveries from exceptionally preserved Cambrian lagerstätten, the ecological complexity and trophic structures of these Cambrian marine communities has been further r...
Conference Paper
The frontal appendage is the main feeding structure and the most well-known part of radiodontans, and thus has been used as the main source of characters in the classification of these putative stem-group euarthropods. The endites (or ventral/inner spines), normally considered as paired on each podomere, are of particular value in taxonomy and aute...
Conference Paper
Ctenophores have in the last decade figured in a sometime acrimonious debate regarding their systematic position in the metazoan tree—are they the sister group to all other animals, or are they immediately stemward of bilaterians, perhaps together with cnidarians? Molecular phylogenetic studies have recovered both and a wide consensus is still lack...