Data from: An edrioasteroid from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte of England reveals the nature of the water vascular system in an extinct echinoderm
Briggs, Derek E. G. et al. (2017), Data from: An edrioasteroid from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte of England reveals the nature of the water vascular system in an extinct echinoderm, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7005f
Echinoderms are unique in having a water vascular system with tube feet, which perform a variety of functions in living forms. Here, we report the first example of preserved tube feet in an extinct group of echinoderms. The material, from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte, UK, is assigned to a new genus and species of rhenopyrgid edrioasteroid, Heropyrgus disterminus. The tube feet attach to the inner surface of compound interradial plates and form two sets, an upper and a lower, an arrangement never reported previously in an extant or extinct echinoderm. Cover plates are absent and floor plates are separated creating a large permanent entrance to the interior of the oral area. The tube feet may have captured food particles that entered the oral area and/or enhanced respiration. The pentameral symmetry of the oral surface transitions to eight columns in which the plates are vertically offset resulting in a spiral appearance. This change in symmetry may reflect flexibility in the evolutionary development of the axial and extraxial zones in early echinoderm evolution.