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dest known echinoderm fossil may be Arkarua from the Precambrian of Australia. It is a disc-like fossil with radial ridges on the rim and a five-pointed central depression marked with radial lines. However, no stereom or internal structure showing a water vascular system is present and the identification is inconclusive. The first universally accepted echinoderms appear in the Lower Cambrian period, asterozoans appeared in the Ordovician and the crinoids were a dominant group in the Paleozoic. Echinoderms left behind an extensive fossil record. It is hypothesised that the ancestor of all echinoderms was a simple, motile, bilaterally symmetrical animal with a mouth, gut and anus. This ancestral stock adopted an attached mode of life and suspension feeding, and developed radial symmetry as this was more advantageous for such an existence. The larvae of all echinoderms are even now bilaterally symmetrical and all develop radial symmetry at m etamorphosis. The starfish and crinoids still attach themselves to the seabed while changing to their adult form. The first echinoderms later gave rise to free-moving groups. The evolution of endoskeletal plates with stereom structure and of external ciliary grooves for feeding were early echinoderm developments. The Paleozoic echinoderms were globular, attached to the substrate and were orientated with their oral surfaces upwards. The fossil echinoderms had ambulacral grooves extending down the side of the body, fringed on either side by brachioles, structures very similar to the pinnules of a modern crinoid. It seems probable that the mouth-upward orientation is the primitive state and that at some stage, all the classes of echinoderms except the crinoids reversed this to become mouth-downward. Before this happened, the podia probably had a feeding function as they do in the crinoids today. Their locomotor function came later, after the re-orientation of the mouth when the podia w ere in contact with the substrate for the firs