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Marine Early Triassic Osteichthyes from Spiti, Indian Himalayas


Romano, Carlo; Ware, David; Brühwiler, Thomas; Bucher, Hugo; Brinkmann, Winand (2016). Marine Early Triassic Osteichthyes from Spiti, Indian Himalayas. Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, 135(2):275-294.

Abstract

A new, marine osteichthyan (bony fish) fauna from the Early Triassic of northern India is presented. The material was collected in situ at localities within Pin Valley (Lahaul and Spiti District, Himachal Pradesh, India) and is dated as middle-late Dienerian (one specimen possibly earliest Smithian). The new ichthyofauna includes a lower jaw of the predatory basal ray-finned fish Saurichthys, a nearly complete specimen of a parasemionotid neopterygian (cf. Watsonulus cf. eugnathoides), as well as further articulated and disarticulated remains (Actinopterygii indet., Actinistia indet.), and thus comprises the most complete Triassic fish fossils known from the Indian subcontinent. Saurichthys is known from many Triassic localities and reached a global distribution rapidly after the Late Permian mass extinction event. Parasemionotidae, a species-rich family restricted to the Early Triassic, also achieved widespread distribution during this epoch. Comparison of the Spiti material with other parasemionotid species reveals similarities with Watsonulus eugnathoides from Madagascar. However, taxonomic ambiguities within Parasemionotidae prevent a specific attribution of the Spiti specimen. The new material also includes an isolated actinistian urohyal exhibiting morphology distinct from any previously described urohyal. Marine Dienerian black shale deposited on continental shelves are common not only in the Himalayas but also in other geographic regions. Anoxic depositional settings provide ideal preservational conditions for vertebrate fossils, suggesting that additional ichthyofaunas could still be discovered in marine Dienerian strata of other localities. The study of Early Triassic fish assemblages, including the presented one, is fundamental for our understanding of the great osteichthyan diversification after the Late Permian mass extinction event.

Abstract

A new, marine osteichthyan (bony fish) fauna from the Early Triassic of northern India is presented. The material was collected in situ at localities within Pin Valley (Lahaul and Spiti District, Himachal Pradesh, India) and is dated as middle-late Dienerian (one specimen possibly earliest Smithian). The new ichthyofauna includes a lower jaw of the predatory basal ray-finned fish Saurichthys, a nearly complete specimen of a parasemionotid neopterygian (cf. Watsonulus cf. eugnathoides), as well as further articulated and disarticulated remains (Actinopterygii indet., Actinistia indet.), and thus comprises the most complete Triassic fish fossils known from the Indian subcontinent. Saurichthys is known from many Triassic localities and reached a global distribution rapidly after the Late Permian mass extinction event. Parasemionotidae, a species-rich family restricted to the Early Triassic, also achieved widespread distribution during this epoch. Comparison of the Spiti material with other parasemionotid species reveals similarities with Watsonulus eugnathoides from Madagascar. However, taxonomic ambiguities within Parasemionotidae prevent a specific attribution of the Spiti specimen. The new material also includes an isolated actinistian urohyal exhibiting morphology distinct from any previously described urohyal. Marine Dienerian black shale deposited on continental shelves are common not only in the Himalayas but also in other geographic regions. Anoxic depositional settings provide ideal preservational conditions for vertebrate fossils, suggesting that additional ichthyofaunas could still be discovered in marine Dienerian strata of other localities. The study of Early Triassic fish assemblages, including the presented one, is fundamental for our understanding of the great osteichthyan diversification after the Late Permian mass extinction event.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Uncontrolled Keywords:Neotethys, Northern Indian Margin, Gondwana, Anoxia, Biotic recovery, Urohyal
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:09 Oct 2015 15:48
Last Modified:22 Nov 2017 18:49
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1664-2376
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s13358-015-0098-6

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