The anterior-most unit of the crown-group arthropod body plan includes three segments, the pre-gnathal seg-ments, that contain three neuromeres that together comprise the brain. Recent work on the development of this anterior re-gion has shown that its three units exhibit many developmental differences to the more posterior segments, to the extent that they should not be considered serial homologs. Building on this revised understanding of the development of the pre-gnathal segments, we suggest a novel scenario for arthropod head evolution. We posit an expansion of an ancestral single-segmented head at the transition from Radiodonta to Deuteropoda in the arthropod stem group. The expanded head subdivided into three segmental units, each maintaining some of the structures of the ancestral head. This scenario is consistent with what we know of head evolution from the fossil record and helps reconcile some of the debates about early arthropod evolution.
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