Syncytial Theory - Metazoa
This theory suggests that the ancestral metazoan was at ,first Syncytial in structure but later became cellularised by formation of cell membranes around individual nuclei this producing a typical multicellular body. Hadzi (1953) and Hanson (1977) have been the chief proponents of this theory. As many ciliates tend to have a bilateral symmetry, the advocates of this theory maintain that the ancestral metazoan was bilaterally symmetrical similar to the present day acoelous flatworms. The theory receives support from the fact that acoelous flatworms are
Figure: Possible routes for evolution of animals
There are several objections to this theory. It ignores the embryology of flatworms in which nothing similar to cellularization occurs, nor does it explain the presence of flagellated sperms in metazoans. Perhaps the most important objection to this theory is that it assumes that .acoelous flatworms are the most primitive metazoans and therefore, presumes bilateral symmetry to be more primitive than radial symmetry and thus radial coelenterates must have been derived from bilateral flatworms. But then it is accepted that radial symmetry is more primitive than bilateral symmetry and radial coelentrates could not have evolved from flatworms.