The bellerophont controversy revisited

American Malacological Bulletin
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An old controversy reestablished itself in the late 1970s and early 1980s that focused on the systematic placement of the enigmatic Bellerophontoidea (informally, "bellerophonts"), a group of planispirally coiled, wholly fossil molluscs. The controversy embraced three fundamental concepts that are based on different philosophical interpretations of shell form, muscle scar patterns, and other preserved shell features: 1) all bellerophonts were monoplacophorans; 2) all bellerophonts were gastropods; and 3) some bellerophonts were monoplacophorans and some were gastropods. A review of the main issues appearing in the literature since the early 1980s indicates that these three philosophical divisions still exist and, indeed, have become entrenched. An examination of the relevant anatomical and shell features of recent gastropods and monoplacophorans, and comparison with preserved features in enigmatic fossil forms, convinces us that the bellerophontoideans and the coiled and high-domed "monoplacophorans" (Cyclomya) were gastropods. Only the flattened, spoon-and cap-shaped monoplacophorans (Tergomya) were true monoplacophorans. We present a hypothetical scheme for the morphological diversification of gastropods from early monoplacophorans that could account for Cyclomya, Bellerophontoidea, Patellogastropoda, and Prosobranchia.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title The bellerophont controversy revisited
Series title American Malacological Bulletin
Volume 15
Issue 2
Year Published 2000
Language English
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title American Malacological Bulletin
First page 147
Last page 156
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