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Estonian Journal of Earth Sciences
ISSN 1736-7557 (Electronic)
ISSN 1736-4728 (Print)
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Endolymphatic structures in headshields of the osteostracan genus Tremataspis (Agnatha) from the Silurian of Estonia; pp. 135–156
PDF | 10.3176/earth.2022.10

Tiiu Märss, Mark V. H. Wilson, Mart Viljus

Details of the endolymphatic structures are described for the first time in the headshields of the osteostracan genus Tremataspis from the Silurian of Estonia. Tiny platelets, here termed covering platelets, are located within the openings of the endolymphatic duct. The details of their shapes and arrangements differ among the four studied species. In Tremataspis schmidti Rohon and Tremataspis milleri Patten, the covering platelets are usually arranged in an oval or circular shape around the opening of the endolymphatic duct. These species can have smooth, flat covering platelets at the mouth of an irregularly funnel-shaped aperture in the dorsal shield; the funnel often has a posterior extension. In Tremataspis rohoni Robertson and Tremataspis mammillata Patten, a distinct circular arrangement of platelets does not occur; instead, their funnel was capped with a few (2–3) smooth, flat covering platelets. The funnel of T. milleri sometimes has a long postero-lateral extension, while that of T. mammillata can have a short extension; no extensions of the funnel have been observed in T. schmidti or T. rohoni. The diameter of the pores in the covering platelets is larger than that of the pores in the superficial layer of the headshield and much larger than the diameter of the pores in the porous fields (these are thin perforated bony septa subdividing the sensory canals horizontally into lower and upper parts). In T. milleri, the larger pores are located on the side of the covering platelets that is closer to the body midline. The discovered system of covering platelets possibly functioned as a sieve for allowing in suitable grains of material and preventing material that is too fine or too coarse, or not sufficiently dense, from entering the inner ear.


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