What if We’re Wrong About Placoderms? – #365papers – 2018 – 57

Zhu, Yu, Ahlberg, Choo, Lu, Qiao, Qu, Zhao, Jia, Blom, and Zhu, 2013, A Silurian placoderm with osteichthyan-like marginal jaw bones: Nature, v. 502, p. 188-193

What’s it about?

I reported on another paper with Zhu as lead author sometime last week. That paper provided evidence that certain dermal bones (the dentary and maxilla), traditionally viewed as synapomorphies for the crown osteichthyes may also be present in placoderms. This is the first paper in which Zhu reported this observation.

Why does it matter?

This is another paper that plays into the debate about the relationships among early gnathostome (jawed) fishes and the modern groups. It’s still an unresolved problem.

Why did I read this?

I read this as part of my preparation for my vertebrate paleontology class’s units on the origins of jaws and the relationships among jawed fishes.

What did I learn?

It’s more difficult that I thought to distinguish dermal bones in early fishes, but desperately important to be able to do so.

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