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The large Middle Devonian osteostracan Cephalaspis magnifica Traquair, 1893a, from the Late Eifelian Upper Caithness Flagstone Group of Caithness, Scotland, is redescribed on the basis of the holotype and a second, hitherto undescribed specimen. This species is assigned to a new genus, Trewinia gen. nov. and, on account of its probable lack of lateral cephalic fields, is regarded as a possible member of the Escuminaspididae, which are hitherto only known from the Late Devonian of Quebec, Canada. Other characters of the head shield of T. magnifica also accord with the structure of the largest known escuminaspidid Escuminaspis. The morphology, relationships and biogeography of the few other Middle and Late Devonian osteostracans are discussed. North American osteostracans are generally quite distinctive from European ones throughout the Devonian, and only few taxa seem common to the two areas. The Escuminaspididae could be one of these, and this would agree with similar distributions met with in other Middle and Late Devonian vertebrates from similar environments. The question of the possible causes of the decline and extinction of the various ‘ostracoderm’ groups after the end of the Early Devonian is briefly discussed, and environmental factors are favoured to account for their decline in abundance and diversity.
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