Petalichthyid and “acanthothoracid” placoderms have taken pivotal positions in the debate on placoderm — and, by extension, jawed vertebrate — relationships owing to perceived similarities with certain jawless vertebrates. Neurocranial characters are integral to current hypotheses of early gnathostome relationships. Here, we describe the three-dimensionally preserved neurocranial anatomy of the petalichthyid placoderm Ellopetalichthys scheii (Kiær, 1915), from the Middle Devonian (early Eifelian) of Ellesmere Island, Canada. Using X-ray computed microtomography, we generated three-dimensional reconstructions of the endocranial surfaces, orbital walls, and cranial endocavity. These reconstructions verify the absence of a crus commune of the skeletal labyrinth and the complex shape of the petalichthyid endolympathic duct. Details of the craniothoracic joint and occipital musculature fossae help resolve the problematic comparative anatomy of the occipital surface of petalichthyids. These new data highlight similarities with arthrodire placoderms, consistent with older hypotheses of a sister-group relationship between petalichthyids and that clade.
Endocranial morphology of the petalichthyid placoderm Ellopetalichthys scheii from the Middle Devonian of Arctic Canada, with remarks on the inner ear and neck joint morphology of placoderms
Corresponding author: Martin D. Brazeau (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
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Marco Castiello, Anna Jerve, Maria Grace Burton, Matt Friedman, Martin D. Brazeau; Endocranial morphology of the petalichthyid placoderm Ellopetalichthys scheii from the Middle Devonian of Arctic Canada, with remarks on the inner ear and neck joint morphology of placoderms. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences 2020;; 58 (1): 93–104. doi: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2020-0005
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