Chapter

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

Richard J. Aldridge and Derek E. G. Briggs

in The Paleobiological Revolution

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226748610
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226748597 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226748597.003.0005
The Discovery of Conodont Anatomy and Its Importance for Understanding the Early History of Vertebrates

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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

Chapter.  5878 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Palaeontology

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