Temporal range: Ediacaran - Recent,
Orange elephant ear sponge, Agelas clathrodes, in foreground. Two corals in the background: a sea fan, Iciligorgia schrammi, and a sea rod, Plexaurella nutans.
Scientific classification
Domain: Eukarya
(unranked): Holozoa
Lang et al. 2002

Holozoa is a group of organisms that includes animals and their closest single-celled relatives, but excludes fungi.[1][2][3] [4] Holozoa is also an old name for the tunicate genus Distaplia.[5]

Because Holozoa is a clade including all organisms more closely related to animals than to fungi, some authors prefer it to recognizing paraphyletic groups such as Choanozoa, which mostly consists of Holozoa minus animals.[6]

Perhaps the best-known holozoans, apart from animals, are the choanoflagellates, which strongly resemble the collar cells of sponges, and so were theorized to be related to sponges even in the 19th century. Proterospongia is an example of a colonial choanoflagellate that may shed light on the origin of sponges.

The affinities of the other single-celled holozoans only began to be recognized in the 1990s.[7] A group of mostly parasitic species called Icthyosporea or Mesomycetozoea is sometimes grouped with other species in Mesomycetozoa (note the difference in the ending). The amoeboid genera Ministeria and Capsaspora may be united in a group called Filasterea by the structure of their thread-like pseudopods. Along with choanoflagellates, filastereans may be closely related to animals, and one analysis grouped them together as the clade Filozoa.[3]

Fossil record

The oldest fossils of holozoans are animals, which date back to the Ediacaran period, about 600 million years ago.[8]












  1. ^ Aleshin VV, Konstantinova AV, Mikhailov KV, Nikitin MA, Petrov NB (2007). "Do we need many genes for phylogenetic inference?". Biochemistry Mosc. 72 (12): 1313–23. PMID 18205615. doi:10.1134/S000629790712005X.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  2. ^ Lang BF, O'Kelly C, Nerad T, Gray MW, Burger G (2002). "The closest unicellular relatives of animals". Curr. Biol. 12 (20): 1773–8. PMID 12401173. doi:10.1016/S0960-9822(02)01187-9.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  3. ^ a b Shalchian-Tabrizi, Kamran; Minge, Marianne A.; Espelund, Mari; Orr, Russell; Ruden, Torgeir; Jakobsen, Kjetill S.; Cavalier-Smith, Thomas; Aramayo, Rodolfo (2008). Aramayo, Rodolfo, ed. "Multigene phylogeny of choanozoa and the origin of animals". PLoS ONE. 3 (5): e2098. PMC 2346548Freely accessible. PMID 18461162. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002098. 
  4. ^ Elias M, Archibald JM (2009). "The RJL family of small GTPases is an ancient eukaryotic invention probably functionally associated with the flagellar apparatus". Gene. 442 (1-2): 63–72. PMID 19393304. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2009.04.011.  Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help)
  5. ^ Tatiàn, Marcos; Antacli, Julieta Maria; Sahade, Ricardo (2005). "Ascidians (Tunicata, Ascidiacea): species distribution along the Scotia Arc". Scientia Maria. 69 (suppl. 2): 205–214. 
  6. ^ Steenkamp, Emma T.; Wright, Jane; Baldauf, Sandra L. (2006). "The Protistan Origins of Animals and Fungi". Molecular Biology & Evolution. 23 (1): 93–106. PMID 16151185. doi:10.1093/molbev/msj011. 
  7. ^ Ragan, Mark A.; Goggin, C. Louise; Cawthorn, Richard J.; Cerenius, Lage; Jamieson, Angela V.C.; Plourde, Susan M.; Rand, Thomas G.; Söoderhäll, Kenneth; Gutell, Robin R. (1996). "A novel clade of protistan parasites near the animal-fungal divergence". PNAS. 93 (21): 11907–11912. PMC 38157Freely accessible. PMID 8876236. doi:10.1073/pnas.93.21.11907. 
  8. ^ Porter, Suzannah M. (2004). "The fossil record of early eukaryotic diversification". Paleontological Society Papers. 10: 35–50. 
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