A Silurian placoderm with osteichthyan-like marginal jawbones

Min Zhu, Xiaobo Yu, Per Ahlberg, Brian Choo, Jing Lu, Tu Qiao, Qingming Qu, Wenjin Zhao, Liantao Jia, Henning Blom, Zhu You'an

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    135 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The gnathostome (jawed vertebrate) crown group comprises two extant clades with contrasting character complements. Notably, Chondrichthyes (cartilaginous fish) lack the large dermal bones that characterize Osteichthyes (bony fish and tetrapods). The polarities of these differences, and the morphology of the last common ancestor of crown gnathostomes, are the subject of continuing debate. Here we describe a three-dimensionally preserved 419-million-year-old placoderm fish from the Silurian of China that represents the first stem gnathostome with dermal marginal jaw bones (premaxilla, maxilla and dentary), features previously restricted to Osteichthyes. A phylogenetic analysis places the new form near the top of the gnathostome stem group but does not fully resolve its relationships to other placoderms. The analysis also assigns all acanthodians to the chondrichthyan stem group. These results suggest that the last common ancestor of Chondrichthyes and Osteichthyes had a macromeric dermal skeleton, and provide a new framework for studying crown gnathostome divergence.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)188-193
    Number of pages6
    JournalNature
    Volume502
    Issue number7470
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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    Zhu, M., Yu, X., Ahlberg, P., Choo, B., Lu, J., Qiao, T., Qu, Q., Zhao, W., Jia, L., Blom, H., & You'an, Z. (2013). A Silurian placoderm with osteichthyan-like marginal jawbones. Nature, 502(7470), 188-193. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature12617