The growth and function of the conodont skeletal apparatus have important implications for early vertebrate relationships and the evolution of vertebrate hard tissues, yet they are poorly understood. Analysis of element length, platform linear dimensions, and platform area in discrete Pa elements of Carboniferous Idiognathodus and Gnathodus bilineatus reveals that the platform increased in size at a rate significantly above that required to maintain geometric similarity. Measurements of P, M and S elements in bedding-plane assemblages of Idiognathodus and G. bilineatus indicate that relative to Pa element length, Pb and S element growth was isometric, whereas M elements grew with negative allometry. There is no evidence to support loss or resorption of S and M elements in later growth stages, or to indicate periodic shedding and replacement of elements. These results are important for understanding apparatus and element Function. The positive allometry of the Pa element platform supports interpretations of a mashing or grinding tooth-like Function for platformed Pa elements. If conodonts were active suspension-feeders, the increasing food requirements of a growing conodont would require the filter array formed by the S and M elements to have grown at a rate significantly above isometry. The lack of positive allometry of S and M elements indicates that conodonts were not suspension-feeders and supports hypotheses that conodonts fed with a raptorial apparatus and teeth. □Conodonts, vertebrates, skeletal apparatus, ontogeny, allometry, function, suspension-feeding, teeth.