The origin and early phylogenetic history of jawed vertebrates

Nature. 2015 Apr 23;520(7548):490-7. doi: 10.1038/nature14438.


Fossils of early gnathostomes (or jawed vertebrates) have been the focus of study for nearly two centuries. They yield key clues about the evolutionary assembly of the group's common body plan, as well the divergence of the two living gnathostome lineages: the cartilaginous and bony vertebrates. A series of remarkable new palaeontological discoveries, analytical advances and innovative reinterpretations of existing fossil archives have fundamentally altered a decades-old consensus on the relationships of extinct gnathostomes, delivering a new evolutionary framework for exploring major questions that remain unanswered, including the origin of jaws.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Fossils*
  • Jaw / anatomy & histology
  • Phylogeny*
  • Vertebrates / anatomy & histology*
  • Vertebrates / embryology