(a) Hypothetical transition from a character state composed by an array of multiple valve rows in the conus arteriosus of basal actinopterygians, such as Polypteriformes (top), to a derived state characterized by the dominance of the valveless bulbus arteriosus, in living teleosts (here represented by a generalized elopomorph at the bottom), through an intermediate state represented in the conus arteriosus of fossilized R. buccalis hearts (middle). Anterior to left. (b) Cladogram depicting phylogenetic relationships among early and derived gnathostomes and their corresponding morphologies of the cardiac outflow region. Drawings represent either the inner sides of right (R) and left (L) counterparts, or only the inner right side of the cardiac outflow tract. Drawings were modified from classic illustrations (Parsons, 1929; Danforth, 1912; Senior, 1907) (not to scale). Blue and pink coloring highlight, respectively, bulbus and conus arteriosus (and respective valves) in extant species. Valvar arrangement in Rhacolepis is suggested by data in Figure 2. A parsimony ancestral character state reconstruction was made for the number of conal valves, following the color code in terminals. General relationships of Teleostei were based on Arratia, 2010. Genera illustrating the conal condition in each Actionopterygian branches are: Squalus for Chondrichthyes; Neoceratodus for Sarcopterygii; Polypterus for Polypteriformes; Lepisosteus for Lepisosteiformes; Amia for Amiiformes; Pterothrissus for Albuliformes; Gadus for Clupeocephala. Abbreviations: B, bulbus; C.A., conus arteriosus; L, left side; P, pericardium; R, right side; VE, ventricle.