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Over 12,000 species, most of which are now extinct, have been identified from fossils.
Most abundant and diverse during the Devonian Era, the majority of brachiopods were wiped out during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction.
Darwin's theory of sexual selection showed how such traits could be selected through competition for mates even if they were otherwise detrimental argued that sexual selection is caused by the greater ability of males than females to increase fitness by mating repeatedly, due to the females' greater energetic commitment to gametes or parental care. Sexual selection theory therefore predicts that traits increasing mating success will have evolved because they increase male success through pollen.
Here I report that a suite of floral traits of a hermaphroditic plant is best interpreted as having evolved through the male competition component of sexual selection, a result with important implications for evolutionary studies of pollination systems.
"Because these horses are from the same family line, the condition is likely a genetically heritable one," said Chenier.
"A very similar condition can occur in humans with what is known as androgen insensitivity syndrome.
In the past 20 years, new classification systems based on more rigorous phylogenetic analyses have been proposed to replace traditional brachiopod classification and have been adopted to different degrees by scientists.
("Brachiopoda", 2013; Brusca and Brusca, 2003; Carlson, 1995; Cohen and Gawthrop, 1997; Holmer, et al., 1995; Popov, et al., 1993; Ramel, 2012; Rowell, 1982; Sperling, et al., 2011; Williams, et al., 1996; Zhang, 2011) All brachiopods filter feed on planktonic organisms and possess a distinctive feeding structure called a lophophore.
The ornaments and weapons of male animals are among the showiest and seemingly most wasteful of nature's productions.