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The Paleobiological RevolutionEssays on the Growth of Modern Paleontology$
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David Sepkoski and Michael Ruse

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226748610

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226748597.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Discovery of Conodont Anatomy and Its Importance for Understanding the Early History of Vertebrates

The Discovery of Conodont Anatomy and Its Importance for Understanding the Early History of Vertebrates

Chapter:
(p.73) Chapter Four The Discovery of Conodont Anatomy and Its Importance for Understanding the Early History of Vertebrates
Source:
The Paleobiological Revolution
Author(s):

Richard J. Aldridge

Derek E. G. Briggs

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226748597.003.0005

This chapter discusses the study and interpretation of the conodonts, a group of extinct animals whose identification and anatomical reconstruction was a mystery and a challenge throughout much of the twentieth century. It highlights the importance of conodonts in understanding the early history of vertebrates and the difficulties of paleontologists in analyzing the soft-tissue structure of the conodonts. The new understandings of conodonts reveal that vertebrates originated in the sea, and that the mineralized vertebrate skeleton in conodonts which served as a raptorial device is comparable to dentine and enamel. These findings are contrary to what Alfred Romer wrote in Man and the Vertebrates in 1933.

Keywords:   conodonts, vertebrates, soft-tissue structure, mineralized vertebrate skeleton, raptorial device, dentin, Alfred Romer

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