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The early elasmobranch Phoebodus: phylogenetic relationships, ecomorphology and a new time-scale for shark evolution


Frey, Linda; Coates, Michael; Ginter, Michał; Hairapetian, Vachik; Rücklin, Martin; Jerjen, Iwan; Klug, Christian (2019). The early elasmobranch Phoebodus: phylogenetic relationships, ecomorphology and a new time-scale for shark evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B: Biological Sciences, 286(1912):20191336.

Abstract

Anatomical knowledge of early chondrichthyans and estimates of their phylogeny are improving, but many taxa are still known only from microremains. The nearly cosmopolitan and regionally abundant Devonian genus
Phoebodus has long been known solely from isolated teeth and fin spines. Here, we report the first skeletal remains of Phoebodus from the Famennian (Late Devonian) of the Maïder region of Morocco, revealing an anguilliform
body, specialized braincase, hyoid arch, elongate jaws and rostrum, complementing its characteristic dentition and ctenacanth fin spines preceding both dorsal fins. Several of these features corroborate a likely close relationship
with the Carboniferous species Thrinacodus gracia, and phylogenetic analysis places both taxa securely as members of the elasmobranch stem lineage. Identified as such, phoebodont teeth provide a plausible marker for range
extension of the elasmobranchs into the Middle Devonian, thus providing a
new minimum date for the origin of the chondrichthyan crown-group. Among pre-Carboniferous jawed vertebrates, the anguilliform body shape of Phoebodus is unprecedented, and its specialized anatomy is, in several respects,
most easily compared with the modern frilled shark Chlamydoselachus. These results add greatly to the morphological, and by implication ecological, disparity of the earliest elasmobranchs.

Abstract

Anatomical knowledge of early chondrichthyans and estimates of their phylogeny are improving, but many taxa are still known only from microremains. The nearly cosmopolitan and regionally abundant Devonian genus
Phoebodus has long been known solely from isolated teeth and fin spines. Here, we report the first skeletal remains of Phoebodus from the Famennian (Late Devonian) of the Maïder region of Morocco, revealing an anguilliform
body, specialized braincase, hyoid arch, elongate jaws and rostrum, complementing its characteristic dentition and ctenacanth fin spines preceding both dorsal fins. Several of these features corroborate a likely close relationship
with the Carboniferous species Thrinacodus gracia, and phylogenetic analysis places both taxa securely as members of the elasmobranch stem lineage. Identified as such, phoebodont teeth provide a plausible marker for range
extension of the elasmobranchs into the Middle Devonian, thus providing a
new minimum date for the origin of the chondrichthyan crown-group. Among pre-Carboniferous jawed vertebrates, the anguilliform body shape of Phoebodus is unprecedented, and its specialized anatomy is, in several respects,
most easily compared with the modern frilled shark Chlamydoselachus. These results add greatly to the morphological, and by implication ecological, disparity of the earliest elasmobranchs.

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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
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Immunology and Microbiology
Physical Sciences > General Environmental Science
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Immunology and Microbiology, General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Environmental Science, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:9 October 2019
Deposited On:18 Oct 2019 09:03
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 11:29
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing
ISSN:0962-8452
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2019.1336
Official URL:https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2019.1336
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID200021_156105
  • : Project TitleA new Fossillagerstätte from the Late Devonian of Morocco: faunal composition, taphonomy and palaeoecology

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