First Fossil Hagfish (Myxinoidea): A Record from the Pennsylvanian of Illinois

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Science  01 Nov 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5032, pp. 701-703
DOI: 10.1126/science.254.5032.701


A fossil hagfish (Myxinoidea), a new genus from the Pennsylvanian, shows tentacles, structures of the head skeleton and internal organs. No other fossils of this group have been reported. Although this new hagfish differs from living forms in position of the gills, feeding apparatus, and relatively well developed eyes, it is quite similar to its recent relatives. Thus, hagfishes have a long, conservative geological history. Cladograms showing myxinoids as a sister group to the vertebrates are supported.

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