The choir and the long space between the podia were for ministrants, the podia themselves for kneeling worshippers.
The main room of the ordinary temple was rectangular, with an elevated apsidal arrangement, like a choir, containing the sacred relief on its wall, at the end opposite the entrance, and with continuous benches (podia) of masonry, about 5 ft.
There were arrangements for the brilliant illumination of the choir and its relief, which was sometimes sculptured on both sides and reversible, while the podia were intentionally more obscure.
According to this, the shoot of the vine is a "sympodium," consisting of a number of "podia" placed one over the other in longitudinal series.
The absence of an apical system of plates; the fact that radial symmetry has not affected the generative organs, as it has in all other recent classes; the welldeveloped muscles of the body-wall, supposed to be directly inherited from some worm-like ancestor; the presence on the inner walls of the body in the family Synaptidae of ciliated funnels, which have been rashly compared to the excretory organs (nephridia) of many worms; the outgrowth from the rectum in other genera of caeca (Cuvierian organs and respiratory trees), which recall the anal glands of the Gephyrean worms; the absence of podia (tube-feet) in many genera, and even of the radial water-vessels in Synaptidae; the absence of that peculiar structure known in other echinoderms by the names "axial organ," "ovoid gland," &c; the simpler form of the larva - all these features have, for good reason or bad, been regarded as primitive.
Such characters are found in any primitive, sedentary group. More peculiarly Echinoderm features, in which the Pelmatozoan nature is manifest, are the enclosing of the viscera in a calcified and plated theca, for protection against those enemies from which a fixed animal cannot flee; the development, at the aboral pole of this theca, of a motor nerve-centre giving off branches to the stroma connecting the various plates of the theca and of its brachial, anal, and columnar extensions, and thus coordinating the movements of the whole skeleton; the absence of suckers from the podia, which, when present, are respiratory, not locomotor, in function.
Existence, by taking food in directly through the mouth, survived, and their podia gradually specialized as sucking feet.
If this be correct, the only change from Edrioaster, as regards the ambulacra, was that in Palaeodiscus the covering-plates could no longer open, but closed permanently over the whole groove, while the podia issued through slits between them.
All living, and most extinct, Echinoderms show the following features, almost certainly due to an ancestral pelmatozoic stage: - An incomplete radial symmetry, of which five is usually the dominant number, is superimposed on the secondary bilateralism, owing to the outgrowth from the mouth region of one unpaired and two paired ciliated grooves; these have a floor of nervous epithelium, and are accompanied by subjacent radial canals from the water-ring, giving off lateral podia and thus forming ambulacra, and by a perihaemal system of canals apparently growing out from coelomic cavities.
The circumoesophageal water-ring communicates indirectly with the exterior; the podia, when present, are respiratory, not locomotor, in function.
- Pelmatozoa in which radial polymeric symmetry of the theca is developed either not at all or not in complete correlation with the radial symmetry of the ambulacra (such as obtains in Blastoidea and Crinoidea); in which extensions of the food-grooves are exothecal or epithecal or both combined, but neither endothecal nor pierced by podia (as in some Edrioasteroidea).
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The circumoesophageal water-ring may lose its connexion with the exterior medium; the podia (absent only in some exceptional forms) may be locomotor, respiratory or sensory in function, but usually are locomotor tube-feet.
The comparative anatomy of living forms, combined with the evolutionary hypothesis sketched above, suggests that the early holothurians possessed the following characters: subvective grooves entirely closed; 5 radial canals, proceeding from the water-ring, gave off branches furnished with ampullae to the podia on each side of them, the 10 anterior podia being changed into cylindrical tentacles; the transverse muscles of the body-wall formed a circular layer, probably interrupted at the radii (though Ludwig believes the contrary); longitudinal muscles as paired radial bands, without those special retractors for withdrawing the anterior part of the body which occur in many recent forms; a hydropore connected with the water-ring by a canal in the dorsal mesentery; a gonopore behind the hydropore connected by a single duct with a bunch of genital pouches on each side of the mesentery; gut dextrally coiled, with a simple blood-vascular system, and with an enlargement at the anus for respiration, this eventually producing branched caeca called "respiratory trees"; skeleton reduced to a ring of 5 radial and 5 interradial plates round the gullet, and small plates, with a hexagonally meshed network, dispersed through the integument.
Such a form gave rise to descendants differing inter se as regards the suppression of the radial canals and of the podia, the form of the tentacles, and the development of respiratory trees.
The radial water-vessels lie in grooves on the ventral side of flooring-plates (usually called "ambulacrals"); they and their podia are limited to the oral surface of the body and their extremities are separated from the FIG.
- Stelliformia in which the ambulacral groove, though open in the oldest forms, soon becomes closed, while the podia cease to serve as tube-feet; the rays as a rule spring FIG.
C, Ventral groove, where lies the water - vessel, from which branches pass through the ossicle,emerg huge podia with a granular or plated skin.
Ing as podia There are five prominent mouth-shields and a at e and e.
- Ambulacrals sometimes compound, with one or two pores to a plate, some dorsal podia begin to assume respiratory function; interambulacrals multi-tuberculate, none resorbed; mouth central, with jaws weak or wanting, with external gills and sphaeridia; anus exocyclic. Families: Pygasteridae, Discoidiidae, Galeritidae, Conoclypeidae; Jurassic to Recent.