The Eugaleaspis (1965)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Galeaspida
Order : Eugaleaspidiformes
Family : Eugaleaspididae
Genus : Eugaleaspis
Species : E. changi

  • Devonian
  • 15 cm long (size)
  • China (map)

The defining characteristic of all galeaspids was a large opening on the dorsal surface of the head shield, which was connected to the pharynx and gill chamber, and a scalloped pattern of the sensory-lines.

The opening may have served both the olfaction and the intake of the respiratory water similar to the nasopharyngeal duct of hagfishes. Galeaspids are also the vertebrates which have the largest number of gills, as some species of the order Polybranchiaspidida (literally “many gills shields”) had up to 45 gill openings. The body is covered with minute scales arranged in oblique rows and there is no other fin besides the caudal fin. The mouth and gill openings are situated on the ventral side of the head, which is flat or flattened and suggests that they were bottom-dwellers.