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Questioning hagfish affinities of the enigmatic Devonian vertebrate Palaeospondylus
Nat Hist Museum, Dept Earth Sci, London, England..
Nat Hist Museum, Dept Earth Sci, London, England.;Kings Coll London, Dent Inst, Tissue Engn & Biophoton, London, England..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Evolution and Developmental Biology. European Synchrotron Radiat Facil, Grenoble, France..
Australian Natl Univ, Res Sch Phys & Engn, Dept Appl Math, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia..
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2017 (English)In: Royal Society Open Science, E-ISSN 2054-5703, Vol. 4, no 7, article id 170214Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Palaeospondylus gunni Traquair, 1890 is an enigmatic Devonian vertebrate whose taxonomic affinities have been debated since it was first described. Most recently, Palaeospondylus has been identified as a stem-group hagfish (Myxinoidea). However, one character questioning this assignment is the presence of three semicircular canals in the otic region of the cartilaginous skull, a feature of jawed vertebrates. Additionally, new tomographic data reveal that the following characters of crown-group gnathostomes (chondrichthyans + osteichthyans) are present in Palaeospondylus: a longer telencephalic region of the braincase, separation of otic and occipital regions by the otico-occipital fissure, and vertebral centra. As well, a precerebral fontanelle and postorbital articulation of the palatoquadrate are characteristic of certain chondrichthyans. Similarities in the structure of the postorbital process to taxa such as Pucapampella, and possible presence of the ventral cranial fissure, both support a resolution of Pa. gunni as a stem chondrichthyan. The internally mineralized cartilaginous skeleton in Palaeospondylus may represent a stage in the loss of bone characteristic of the Chondrichthyes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ROYAL SOC , 2017. Vol. 4, no 7, article id 170214
Keyword [en]
Palaeospondylus, X-ray tomography, hagfish, Chondrichthyes, jawed vertebrates, chondrocranium
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-333405DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170214ISI: 000406670000037PubMedID: 28791148OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-333405DiVA, id: diva2:1157090
Funder
Australian Research Council, DP110101127Swedish Research Council, 2015-04335
Available from: 2017-11-15 Created: 2017-11-15 Last updated: 2017-11-15Bibliographically approved

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