A new Jurassic species of the very rare and incompletely known synechodontiform shark, Welcommia, is described. The new species, Welcommia cappettai, is represented only by a single tooth, precluding reconstruction of its dentition in detail. Nevertheless, this specimen provides sufficient information and characteristics to establish its taxonomic status. Welcommia cappettai n. sp. occurs in the middle Oxfordian (Upper Jurassic) of southwestern Germany. This is the first unambiguous record and named species of Welcommia from the Late Jurassic, substantially reducing the rather large gap in the fossil record of this synechodontiform taxon. So far, two Welcommia species from the Lower Jurassic of Belgium and the Lower Cretaceous of southern France have been described. An additional, still unnamed species seemingly occurs in the Oxfordian of southern France. The new species has plesiomorphic and apomorphic characteristics and, probably, an intermediate dental pattern that tentatively enables reconstruction of evolutionary trends in the dentition of this shark from small and compact teeth with broad, almost triangular cusps, to mesio-distally lengthened teeth with elongated mesial heels resulting in an extremely extended mesial cutting edge in addition to more delicate cusp and cusplets in advanced forms. These differences might be related to improved feeding mechanisms. It is hypothesized that Welcommia was predominantly a component of the Mediterranean faunal province. The disappearance of Welcommia in the Early Cretaceous remains ambiguous and might be related to competition by other sharks, for example hexanchiforms, or might represent a collecting bias and/or taxonomic misidentification of isolated teeth.
|Translated title of the contribution||A new Late Jurassic species of the rare synechodontiform shark, Welcommia (Chondrichthyes, Neoselachii)|
|Pages (from-to)||413 - 419|
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2010|