Reconstruction of Rhamphodopsis threiplandi, by Stanton Fink.

Belongs within: Craniata.
Contains: Antiarchi, Arthrodira, Ptyctodontidae, Acanthodii, Actinopterygii, Sarcopterygii.

The Gnathostomata includes the jawed vertebrates, which first appeared in the Upper Silurian (Bond 1996).

Synapomorphies (from Bond 1996): Jaws present; gill tissue, branchial arteries and branchial nerves external to gill arches; pectoral and pelvic fins present; three semicircular canals present; branchial skeleton not fused to neurocranium; notochord partially or completely replaced by vertebrae.

<==Gnathostomata [Dolichothoraci, Placodermi, Placodermomorphi]
    |  i. s.: Eleochera Sansom & Smith 2005SS05
    |           `--*E. glossa Sansom & Smith 2005SS05
    |         ‘Gyracanthus’ eastmani Wells 1944TBW05
    |         Myducosteus anmaensisBST02
    |         Stensioella [Stensioellida, Stensioellidae]G93
    |           `--S. heintzi Broili 1933G93
    |         Pseudopetalichthys [Paraplesiobatidae, Pseudopetalichthyida]G93
    |           `--P. problematicus Moy-Thomas 1939 (see below for synonymy)G93
    |--Asterosteidae [Gemuendinida, Rhenanida, Rhenaniformes]SJ03
    |    |--Gemuendina stuertzi Traquair 1903G93
    |    `--Jagorina pandora Jaekel 1921G93
          `--+--Acanthothoraci [Acanthothoraciformes, Palaeacanthaspidoidei]BLT98
             |    |--Brindabellaspis Young 1980ZY13, BLT98 [Brindabellaspida, Brindabellaspidae]
             |    |    `--*B. stensioi Young 1980BLT98
             |    `--PalaeacanthaspidaG93
             |         |--Kolymaspis [Kolymaspididae]G93
             |         |    `--K. siberica Bystrow 1956G93
             |         |--WeejasperaspidaeG93
             |         |    |--Weejasperaspis gavini White 1978Y81
             |         |    `--MurrindalaspisG93
             |         |         |--M. bairdi Long 1984B99
             |         |         `--M. wallacei Long 1984B99
             |         |--RadotinidaeG93
             |         |    |--Kosoraspis peckai Gröss 1959G93
             |         |    `--RadotinaG93
             |         |         |--R. kosorensis Gröss 1950G93
             |         |         `--R. tuberculata Gross 1958G93
             |         `--PalaeacanthaspididaeG93
             |              |--Kimaspis tienshanica Mark-Kurik 1973G93
             |              |--Palaeacanthaspis vasta Brotzen 1934G93
             |              |--Dobrowlania podolica Stensiö 1944G93
             |              |--Romundina stellina Ørvig 1975ZY13, G93
             |              `--Breizosteus armoricensis Goujet 1980G93
             `--+--Petalichthyida [Petalichthyiformes]SJ03
                |    |  i. s.: EurycaraspisZY13
                |    |         Widjeaspis warrooensis Young 1978Y81
                |    |--QuasipetalichthyidaeG93
                |    |    |--Quasipetalichthys haikoyensis Liu 1973G93
                |    |    |--Neopetalichthys yanmenpaensis Liu 1973G93
                |    |    `--LatipetalichthysG93
                |    `--MacropetalichthyidaeJP96
                |         |--Wijdeaspis arctica (Ørvig 1957)JP97
                |         |--Macropetalichthys rapheidolebis (Stensiö 1925)ZY13, JP97
                |         |--Xinanpetalichthys shedaowanensis P’an & Wang 1978G93
                |         |--Lunaspis broilii (Gross 1961)JP97
                |         |--Notopetalichthys hillsi Woodward 1941JP97, F71
                |         |--Epipetalichthys wildungensis Stensiö 1925G93
                |         |--Sinopetalichthys kueiyangensisJP97
                |         |--Shearsbyaspis oepiki (Young 1985)JP97
                |         |--Diandongpetalichthys liaojiaoshanensis P’an & Wang 1978G93
                |         `--Guangxipetalichthys Ji & Pan 1997JP97
                |              |--*G. bobaiensis Ji & Pan 1997JP97
                |              `--G. tiaomajianensis Ji & Pan 1997JP97
                      `--+--Entelognathus Zhu, Yu et al. 2013ZY13
                         |    `--*E. primordialis Zhu, Yu et al. 2013ZY13
                         `--Osteichthyomorpha [Teleostomi]S85
                              |  i. s.: Wak sinaNM72
                              |         Harpodon nehereusNM72
                              `--+--Lophosteus Pander 1856ZZ09, BT12 [Lophosteiformes]
                                 |    |--L. incrementus Burrow 1995BT12
                                 |    `--L. superbusBB07
                                 `--+--Andreolepis hedei Gross 1968ZZ09, BMM02
                                    `--+--Naxilepis gracilisBT12, ZZ09
                                       `--+--Terenolepis turneraeBT12
                                          `--+--Dialipina salgueiroensisDFC12, ZZ09
                                                |    |--L. toombsi Schultze 1968Y81
                                                |    `--L. yunnanensisZZ09
                                                `--Osteichthyes [Euosteichthyes, Euteleostomi]ZY13

Pseudopetalichthys problematicus Moy-Thomas 1939 [incl. Nessariostoma granulosum Broili 1933, Paraplesiobatus heinrichsi Broili 1933]G93

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B99] Basden, A. 1999. Emsian (Early Devonian) microvertebrates from the Buchan and Taemas areas of southeastern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 57: 15–21.

[BMM02] Blom, H., T. Märss & C. G. Miller. 2002. Silurian and earliest Devonian birkeniid anaspids from the Northern Hemisphere. Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences 92: 263–323.

[BB07] Botella, H., H. Blom, M. Dorka, P. E. Ahlberg & P. Janvier. 2007. Jaws and teeth of the earliest bony fishes. Nature 448: 583–586.

[BST02] Braddy, S. J., P. A. Selden & D. N. Truong. 2002. A new carcinosomatid eurypterid from the Upper Silurian of northern Vietnam. Palaeontology 45 (5): 897–915.

[BLT98] Burrow, C. J., J. A. Long & S. Turner. 1998. Lower Devonian microvertebrates from the Point Hibbs Formation, Tasmania. Alcheringa 22: 9–20.

[BT12] Burrow, C. J., & S. Turner. 2012. Fossil fish taphonomy and the contribution of microfossils in documenting Devonian vertebrate history. In: Talent, J. A. (ed.) Earth and Life: Global biodiversity, extinction intervals and biogeographic perturbations through time pp. 189–223. Springer.

[DFC12] Davis, S. P., J. A. Finarelli & M. I. Coates. 2012. Acanthodes and shark-like conditions in the last common ancestor of modern gnathostomes. Nature 486: 247–250.

[F71] Fletcher, H. O. 1971. Catalogue of type specimens of fossils in the Australian Museum, Sydney. Australian Museum Memoir 13: 1–167.

[G93] Gardiner, B. G. 1993. Placodermi. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 583–588. Chapman & Hall: London.

[JP97] Ji S. & Pan J. 1997. The macropetalichthyids (Placodermi) from Guangxi and Hunan, China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 35 (1): 18–34.

[NM72] Nair, R. V., & S. L. Mohan. 1972. The deep sea spined dog fish Centrophorus armatus (Gilchrist) (Selachii: Sualidae) from the east coast of India, with a note on its taxonomy. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 69 (1): 193–199.

[SS05] Sansom, I. J., & M. P. Smith. 2005. Late Ordovician vertebrates from the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, USA. Palaeontology 48 (1): 31–48.

[SJ03] Smith, M. M., & Z. Johanson. 2003. Separate evolutionary origins of teeth from evidence in fossil jawed vertebrates. Science 299: 1235–1236.

[S85] Smithson, T. R. 1985. The morphology and relationships of the Carboniferous amphibian Eoherpeton watsoni Panchen. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 85: 317–410.

[TBW05] Turner, S., C. J. Burrow & A. Warren. 2005. Gyracanthides hawkinsi sp. nov. (Acanthodii, Gyracanthidae) from the Lower Carboniferous of Queensland, Australia, with a review of gyracanthid taxa. Palaeontology 48: 963–1006.

[Y81] Young, G. C. 1981. New Early Devonian brachythoracids (placoderm fishes) from the Taemas-Wee Jasper region of New South Wales. Alcheringa 5: 245–271.

[ZY13] Zhu, M., X. Yu, P. E. Ahlberg, B. Choo, J. Lu, T. Qiao, Q. Qu, W. Zhao, L. Jia, H. Blom & Y. Zhu. 2013. A Sliurian placoderm with osteichthyan-like marginal jaw bones. Nature 502: 188–193.

[ZZ09] Zhu, M., W. Zhao, L. Jia, J. Lu, T. Qiao & Q. Qu. 2009. The oldest articulated osteichthyan reveals mosaic gnathostome characters. Nature 458: 469–474.


  1. Do you know if there's any good recent overview of the origin of gnathostomes available?

    Also, where's the chondrichthyans hiding in that dendrogram?

  2. I don't know what the best recent source for early gnathostome stuff is. The chondrichthyans are there, but they're indeed hiding. There's been a few recent studies that have nested the chondrichthyans inside the main bulk of the Acanthodii.

  3. Thanks. So chondrichthyans are osteichthyomorphs? Sounds like the later was given an unfortunate definition …

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *