It is not long since the main lines of division corresponded roughly to gaps in geological history: the orders were Palaeocrinoidea and Neocrinoidea, Palechinoidea and Euechinoidea, Palaeasteroidea and Euasteroidea, and so forth.
Or divisions were based upon certain modifications of structure which, as we now see, affected assemblages of diverse affinity: thus both Blastoidea and Euechinoidea were divided into Regularia and Irregularia; the Holothuroidea into Pneumophora and Apneumona; and Crinoids were discussed under the heads "stalked" and "unstalked."
To take the Echinoidea now living, and to divide them into Endocyclica and Exocyclica, Branchiate and Abranchiate, Gnathostomata and Atelostomata, is easy and convenient; or again to distinguish as Palechinoidea those pre-Jurassic genera which do not conform to the fixed type of twenty vertical columns found in the later Euechinoidea, is to express an interesting fact; but all such divisions obscure the true relationships, and the corresponding terms should be recognized as descriptive rather than classificatory.
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