A new basal galeomorph shark (Synechodontiformes, Neoselachii) from the Early Jurassic of Europe

S Klug, J Kriwet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

23 Citations (Scopus)


Palaeospinacids are a group of basal galeomorph sharks and are placed in the order Synechodontiformes (Chondrichthyes, Neoselachii) ranging from the Permian to the Eocene. Currently, there is a controversy concerning the identity of diagnostic characters for distinguishing palaeospinacid genera because of very similar dental morphologies and the scarcity of articulated skeletal material. The most notable character for distinguishing species within the Palaeospinacidae is, however, the dental morphology. The main dental character uniting all palaeospinacids is the very specialised pseudopolyaulacorhize root vascularisation. A re-examination of articulated neoselachian skeletons from the Lower Jurassic of Lyme Regis (England) and Holzmaden (S Germany), and recently discovered specimens from the Upper Jurassic of the Solnhofen area and Nusplingen (S Germany) has yielded several hitherto unrecognised complete skeletons of the palaeospinacids Synechodus and Paraorthacodus enabling a re-evaluation of characters. These specimens indicate that the number of dorsal fins and the presence or absence of dorsal fin spines represent important features for identifying palaeospinacids. Synechodus bears two dorsal fins without fin spines, whereas Paraorthacodus only has a single dorsal fin lacking a fin spine directly in front of the caudal fin. All palaeospinacids from the Early Jurassic have two spines supporting the dorsal fins and are consequently assigned to a new genus, Palidiplospinax nov. gen. Three species are placed into the new taxon: Synechodus enniskilleni, S. occultidens and S. smithwoodwardi.
Translated title of the contributionA new basal galeomorph shark (Synechodontiformes, Neoselachii) from the Early Jurassic of Europe
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443 - 448
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

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