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Exceptional preservation reveals gastrointestinal anatomy and evolution in early actinopterygian fishes


Argyriou, Thodoris; Clauss, Marcus; Maxwell, Erin E; Furrer, Heinz; Sánchez-Villagra, Marcelo R (2016). Exceptional preservation reveals gastrointestinal anatomy and evolution in early actinopterygian fishes. Scientific Reports, 6:online.

Abstract

Current knowledge about the evolutionary morphology of the vertebrate gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is hindered by the low preservation potential of soft tissues in fossils. Exceptionally preserved cololites of individual †Saurichthys from the Middle Triassic of Switzerland provide unique insights into the evolutionary morphology of the GIT. The GIT of †Saurichthys differed from that of other early actinopterygians, and was convergent to that of some living sharks and rays, in exhibiting up to 30 turns of the spiral valve. Dissections and literature review demonstrate the phylogenetic diversity of GIT features and signs of biological factors that influence its morphology. A phylogenetically informed analysis of a dataset containing 134 taxa suggests that body size and phylogeny are important factors affecting the spiral valve turn counts. The high number of turns in the spiral valve of †Saurichthys and some recent sharks and rays reflect both energetically demanding lifestyles and the evolutionary histories of the groups.

Abstract

Current knowledge about the evolutionary morphology of the vertebrate gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is hindered by the low preservation potential of soft tissues in fossils. Exceptionally preserved cololites of individual †Saurichthys from the Middle Triassic of Switzerland provide unique insights into the evolutionary morphology of the GIT. The GIT of †Saurichthys differed from that of other early actinopterygians, and was convergent to that of some living sharks and rays, in exhibiting up to 30 turns of the spiral valve. Dissections and literature review demonstrate the phylogenetic diversity of GIT features and signs of biological factors that influence its morphology. A phylogenetically informed analysis of a dataset containing 134 taxa suggests that body size and phylogeny are important factors affecting the spiral valve turn counts. The high number of turns in the spiral valve of †Saurichthys and some recent sharks and rays reflect both energetically demanding lifestyles and the evolutionary histories of the groups.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:14 Jan 2016 09:16
Last Modified:26 Oct 2016 13:06
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/srep18758

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