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Re: Rearranging the branches of the Tree of Life...

Or the molecular data is unreliable.

Or the method is unreliable.

Indeed, having the comb jellies out there looks a lot like long-branch attraction. Worse yet, the presence of Wheeler and Giribet as the last two authors suggests that POY was used -- and as demonstrated about a year ago in several papers in Systematic Biology, POY sucks.

I'll read the article on Monday.

How did they
calibrate? What clock model did they use?

What? No, there's no molecular dating in there. It's just a phylogenetic analysis.

Would I research the topic, I would not have done such
a study before two conditions are fulfilled:
1. Completion fo the _Trichoplax_ genome project and
ideally availability of several additional "mesozoan"

Cannot hurt.

2. Resolution of the Ecdysozoa-Articulata problem to a
scenario that explains both the character distribution
and the molecular data and resolves their mutual and
(for the molecular data) internal inconsistencies.

No. What is needed here _is_ a big phylogenetic analysis. Inevitably, it will explain some of the inconsistencies as convergence.

As regards lateral transfer - I eagerly await (because
I certainly won't do it myself... no feathers) the
first dedicated study into how that phenomenon may
have decreased from "major" to "nearly insignificant"
immediately preceding the Cambrian Explosion...

What makes you think it was so important before that?

*how exactly* did Ediacaran critters reproduce?

Good question...