Skip to content Skip to navigation

Article: Earliest vertebrate embryos in the fossil record (Middle Devonian, Givetian)

Palaeontology - Vol. 64 Part 1 - Cover Image
Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 64
Part: 1
Publication Date: January 2021
Page(s): 21 30
Author(s): Michael J. Newman, Jan den Blaauwen, Carole Burrow, and Roger Jones
Addition Information

How to Cite

NEWMAN, M.J., BLAAUWEN, J.D., BURROW, C., JONES, R. 2021. . Palaeontology, 64, 1, 21-30. DOI: /doi/10.1111/pala.12511

Author Information

  • Michael J. Newman - Vine Lodge Vine Road Haverfordwest Pembrokeshire SA62 3NZ UK
  • Jan den Blaauwen - University of Amsterdam Science Park 904 1098XH Amsterdam Netherlands
  • Carole Burrow - Geosciences Queensland Museum 122 Gerler Road Brisbane 4011 Queensland Australia
  • Roger Jones - 6 Burghley Road Wimbledon London SW19 5BH UK

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 28 February 2021
  • Manuscript Accepted: 12 August 2020
  • Manuscript Received: 29 February 2020

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library
Get Article: Wiley Online Library [Pay-to-View Access] |


Serial sectioning of a nodule encapsulating an adult specimen of the arthrodire placoderm Watsonosteus fletti from the Eday Flagstone Formation (Givetian) in the Orcadian Basin of northern Scotland has revealed the presence of a number of embryos within the adult. This specimen represents the oldest known record of fossilized vertebrate embryos. Thin sections of two of the slices have revealed the detailed histological structure of embryonic plates in placoderms, showing that as previously deduced from visual examination, the outer and inner layers were the first to form. Gut contents preserved near the embryos show that the species had a varied diet, with dermal bone fragments from sarcopterygians and placoderms.

PalAss Go! URL: | Twitter: Share on Twitter | Facebook: Share on Facebook | Google+: Share on Google+