Skeletal anatomy of the extinct shark Paraorthacodus jurensis (Chondrichthyes; Palaeospinacidae), with comments on synechodontiform and palaeospinacid monophyly

S Klug, J Kriwet, R Böttcher, G Schweigert, G Dietl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

15 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The skeletal morphology of Paraorthacodus jurensis, a Late Jurassic neoselachian from Nusplingen, is described based on the incomplete holotype and a newly discovered almost complete specimen. For the first time, the postcranial skeleton could be investigated. Paraorthacodus is characterized by a monognath dental heterodonty and tearing-type dentition. The number of lateral cusplets in the lateral teeth differs between the holotype and the new specimen, possibly indicating sexual dimorphism. Clasper organs are not preserved in either of the two specimens. The notochord is sheathed by about 123 well-calcified vertebral centra. The posterior-most caudal vertebrae are lacking. The transition from monospondylous thoracic to diplospondylous abdominal vertebrae occurs at centra 48 and 49. The origin of the caudal fin is at the 80th centrum. Most conspicuous is the presence of a single spineless dorsal fin. In this respect, Paraorthacodus differs from most palaeospinacids, but resembles Macrourogaleus. Palidiplospinax possibly is sister to a group comprising Synechodus, Paraorthacodus, and Macrourogaleus (the Palaeospinacidae). A reinterpretation of dental and skeletal characters of synechodontiform taxa indicates that Synechodontiformes and Palaeospinacidae are monophyletic groupings of basal neoselachians. Synechodontiformes is probably sister to all living elasmobranchs.
Translated title of the contributionSkeletal anatomy of the extinct shark Paraorthacodus jurensis (Chondrichthyes; Palaeospinacidae), with comments on synechodontiform and palaeospinacid monophyly
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107 - 134
Number of pages28
JournalZoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Volume157
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

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