Phenotypic plasticity, polymorphism and phylogeny within placoderms

Kate Trinajstic, K. Dennis-Bryan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    22 Citations (Scopus)


    Intraspecies variation, polymorphism and asymmetric traits are observed within two families of Arthrodira, the Incisoscutidae and Camuropiscidae, from the Gogo Formation in northern Western Australia. Individual plates of the head and trunk shield show considerable variation between individuals. Plates that show the greatest degree polymorphic traits are the rostral (R), marginal (M), submarginal (SM), preorbital (PrO), anterior dorsolateral, anterior median ventral (AMV) and posterior ventrolateral (PVL) plates. The paths of the sensory line canals are the most variable feature and the dermal plates of the cheek show the greatest asymmetry. It is apparent that if anatomical data in arthrodires are to be interpreted with greater precision, detailed knowledge of intraspecies variation, polymorphic and asymmetric traits is essential. How these variables are treated in cladistic analysis is also critical. Here multistate characters were coded differently in five discrete analyses, each analysis yielding a different number of trees and relationships. It was concluded that including and coding for multistate characters gave the most robust tree. In addition, further morphological characters from a new specimen of Gogosteus sarahae Long (1994) indicates many of the characters used to separate this genus from Incisoscutum are inconsistent and so it is here considered that the genus Gogosteus is a junior synonym of Incisoscutum.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-102
    JournalActa Zoologica
    Issue numberSupp. 1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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