Detailed Birkenia Silurian Jawless Fossil Fish

with Distinctive Dorsal Ornamentation

Birkenia elegans

Superclass Agnatha, Order Anaspidiformes, Class Anaspida

Geological Time: Upper Silurian

Size: Fish fossil is 17 mm in length on 75 mm by 65 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Leshmagow, Scotland

Fossil Code: UKF246

Price: Sold

Birkenia elegans Paleozoic Jawless Fish FossilDescription: The Anaspids were simple dorso-laterally compressed fish that probably led a bottom-dwelling existence. Their main common feature was a jawless mouth. Indeed the name means without jaws. They were mostly quite small fishes that flourished during the Silurian and Devonian that then became extinct except Anaspidfor their modern-day relatives the Lampreys and Hagfishes. The gills opened as a row of holes along the side of the animal, typically numbering from 6-15. One unusual example from Canada holds the record for gills at 30 pairs! They probably behaved much like the lampreys, and most lived in freshwater environments. This fine example is known as Birkenia. It had an elaborate array of dorsal scales, some of which are seen here. Indeed, these alone would be sufficient to identify this specimen. I have included an artist’s rendering of the specimen in the living state.

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Birkenia elegans Paleozoic Jawless Fish Fossil

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