The cranial anatomy of Romundina stellina Ørvig, 1975 (Vertebrata, Placodermi, Acanthothoraci) revealed by phase contrast synchrotron scanning
2010 (English)Conference paper (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
The acanthothoracid placoderms are among the most phylogenetically basal and morphologically primitive gnathostomes. However, their endocranial anatomy is not well understood; only one genus, Brindabellaspis, has been described in detail. Here we present a near-complete three-dimensional skull of Romundina stellina, a small Early Devonian acanthothoracid from the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, scanned at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, Grenoble, France, at a 7.45 µm resolution using propagation phase contrast. Despite some loss of material along an oblique crack, most of the internal structures are remarkably preserved. Each postethmoid cranial and craniospinal nerve can be followed between the well-preserved endocranial cavity and the walls of the perichondrally ossified neurocranium. The minute nerve canals that supplied the neuromast organs of the sensory line system are preserved and can in the postorbital area be traced directly to a branch of the facial nerve. Both inner ears are present. The vascular mesh of the dermal bones has been reconstructed in detail, rendering visible the dermal plate boundaries of the skull roof, and is shown to connect to larger internal veins that drain to the edge of the braincase or into the jugular vein canal. The curvature of the latter vessels parallels the outer surface of the inner ear and may demarcate the boundary between otic capsule proper and applied hyoid arch material. Overall, the braincase morphology appears less extreme (and less primitive?) than that of Brindabellaspis, in some respects more reminiscent of a primitive arthrodire such as Kujdanowiaspis. These differences may illuminate the earliest stages of placoderm cranial evolution.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. 154-154 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-141877OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-141877DiVA: diva2:386414
Third International Palaeontological Congress, London, June 28 - July 3, 2010