There was also sufficient comprehension of the differences between the main classes of Echinoderms - the sea-urchins or Echinoidea, the starfish or Asteroidea, the brittle-stars and their allies known as Ophiuroidea, the worm-like Holothurians, the feather-stars and sea-lilies called Crinoidea, with their extinct relatives the sac-like Cystidea, the bud-formed Blastoidea, and the flattened Edrioasteroideawhile within the larger of these classes, such as Echinoidea and Crinoidea, fair working classifications had been established.
Among these the abyssal starfish and holothurians described by W.
The theory has been vigorously opposed, notably by Semon (op. cit.), who saw in the holothurians a nearer approach to the ancestral form than was furnished by any calyculate echinoderm, and by the Sarasins, who derived the echinoids from the holothurians through forms with flexible tests (Echinothuridae, which, however, are now known to be specialized in this respect).
Semon called this stage the Pentactula, and supposed that, in its early history, the class had passed through a similar stage, which he called the Pentactaea, and regarded as the ancestor of all Echinoderms. It has since been proved that the five tentacles with their canals are interradial, so that one can scarcely look on the Pentactula as a primitive stage, while the apparent simplicity of the Synaptidae, at least as compared with other holothurians, is now believed to be the result of regressive vlu.
Which of the coelomic cavities this last is connected with is uncertain, for there is considerable doubt as to the origin of the genital glands in the embryonic development of recent echinoderms. It seems clear, however, that there was but a single duct and a single bunch of reproductive cells, as in the holothurians, though perhaps bifurcate, as in some of those animals.