Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Pteraspidomorphi
Order Arandaspidiformes
Family Arandaspididae
Genus Arandaspis
Species Arandaspis prionotolepis
Conservation Status
Arandaspis is an extinct genus of fish with only one known species, Arandaspis prionotolepis. A. prionotolepis is a species of jawless fish that lived in the Ordovician period, about 480 to 470 million years ago. Its remains were found in Alice Springs, Australia in 1959, but it was not determined that they were the oldest known vertebrates until the late 1960s. Arandaspis is named after a local Aboriginal tribe, the Aranda, which is now known as the Arrernte.


Arandaspis was about 6 inches long, with a streamlined body covered in rows of knobbly armored scutes. The front of the body and the head were protected by hard plates with openings for the eyes, nostrils and gills. It probably was a filter-feeder.

Arandaspis had no fins; its only method of propulsion was the use of its horizontally flattened tail. As a result, it probably swam in a fashion similar to a modern tadpole.

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