Allometry in the placoderm Bothriolepis canadensis and its significance to antiarch evolution



A set of 18 measurements of the dermal armour of Bothriolepis canadensis Whiteaves (Placodermi, Anti-archa) is analysed with respect to allometric growth patterns. The strongest allometric patterns were found for the orbital fenestra and premedian plate of the head-shield. and the anterior median dorsal plate of the trunk-shield. These are all areas of the greatest importance in antiarch phylogeny and imply a role for ontogenetic effects such as paedomorphosis in the evolution of antiarchs. It is suggested that this is partly a result of the severe constraints on growth in a closed box such as the armour of placoderms, and may be generally true of such arrangements.