Arandaspis

Arandaspis

Arandaspis prionotolepis is an extinct species of jawless fish that lived in the Ordovician period, about 470 to 480 million years ago.

Its remains were found in Alice Springs, Australia in 1959, but it was not discovered that they were the oldest known vertebrates until the late 1960s. Arandaspis is named after a local Aboriginal tribe, the Aranda (currently called Arrernte). It had a stream-lined body covered in rows of knobbly scutes which formed an armor. The front of the body and the head were protected by hard plates with openings for the eyes, nostrils and gills. Lacking jaws, Arandaspis might have had some moveable plates in its mouth (like other Heterostraci), serving as lips, sucking in food particles. The low position of its mouth suggests Arandaspis foraged the ocean floor. Arandaspis was fin-less; its only method of locomotion was its horizontally flattened tail.

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