Free Online Public Lecture: An introduction to the amazing evolutionary history of annelids
A worm-like body shape is present in many distantly related animals, having evolved separately multiple times.
Among these different types of worm, the segmented annelids are perhaps the most familiar, encompassing earthworms and leeches as well as a staggering diversity of different forms that live in the ocean. These marine worms, called polychaetes for their bristly bodies, show a range of very different lifestyles from reef building filter feeders to voracious ambush predators.
Despite their soft and non-durable bodies, special fossil deposits with exceptional preservation reveal their anatomy in great detail, with rare examples preserving evidence of ancient guts, muscles and even remains of nervous systems and brains.
In this talk Dr Luke Parry will explore the fossil record of annelids, from their evolutionary origins over 500 million years ago to extinct forms not seen in the modern ocean, such as armoured worms and giant predatory polychaetes.
Dr Luke Parry is a palaeontologist based in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford and is an early career research and teaching fellow at St. Edmund Hall.