The proposed project is paleontological but of great zoological importa since it throws direct light on the origin of chordates in general and of the vertebrates as a group. It is best done at the Natural History Museum, London, because Dr. Jefferies, leading a small international team in that institution, is an acknowledged expert on the relevant fossils and a large collection is available.
The fossils I shall study belong to the group Mitrata (Ordovician to Carboniferous, 500-320 million years in age). Mitrates have calcitic skeletons like echinoderms but anatomically are chordates. Some are primitive members of the Craniata (within which the vertebrates are included).
I shall reconstruct several of these craniate mitrates, from many countries. Sometimes I shall work directly from the fossils and sometimes reconstruct them by computer from serial sections . I shall consider the soft parts, functional morphology and mode of life, as well as the skeletons, and compare mitrates with extant chordates .