Article: New birkeniid anaspid from the Lower Devonian of Scotland and its phylogenetic implications
A new possible stem gnathostome, Kerreralepis carinata gen. et sp. nov., is described on the basis of a single specimen from the Lower Devonian of the island of Kerrera in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland. It is recognized as an anaspid by the chevron-like arranged rod-shaped scales on the trunk, gill openings extending behind the orbits in a slanting row and a series of median dorsal ridge scales. This specimen also has a series of median ventral plates, indicating the presence of a preanal fin-fold, which in turn has consequences for interpretations of other problematic stem gnathostomes and their phylogenetic context. A cladistic analysis supports a monophyletic Anaspida including the scale-covered birkeniids but excluding Lasanius as well as anaspid-like forms such as Euphanerops and Jamoytius. The establishment of a new genus and species increases the diversity of anaspids and allows for a more detailed study of anaspid interrelationships. An ingroup analysis using Lasanius as an outgroup resolves Birkenia as a rather basal anaspid, sister to all other anaspids, alternatively sister to a clade represented by the taxa from Ringerike, Norway, and the closely associated taxon from Saaremaa Island, Estonia. These topologies agree rather well with the present fossil record of anaspids.