2002-09Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/21762
Revision of the Xenacanthida (Chondrichthyes: Elasmobranchii) from the Carboniferous of the British Isles
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Xenacanthids were a very successful group of elasmobranchs that ranged from the Lower Carboniferous to the Upper Triassic. The history of discovery of the xenacanthids, which is closely connected with the history of coal prospecting in England, began with the finding of the type specimen of Xenacanthus laevissimus in the Westphalian B of the West Midlands. In this first review of British Carboniferous xenacanthids, the number of taxa, mainly erected during Victorian times, is reduced to 14 species distributed among six genera. Determinable remains are recorded from at least 96 localities in the British Isles. Unique characteristics of the Dinantian Diplodoselache suggest that the lineage to which this taxon belongs marks a dead end in xenacanthid evolution. This investigation also shows that the Pendleian Dicentrodus, formerly described as Cladodus, belongs to the xenacanthids. The occurrence of Orthacanthus cf. kounoviensis in the Pennines, also known from the German Saar-Nahe basin, the Saale depression and from Bohemia, indicates a faunal exchange between these intramontainous basins during the Carboniferous. The genus Triodus is identified from British deposits for the first time. A cladistic analysis of the xenacanthids suggests that they evolved from phoebodontid elasmobranchs. This analysis also confirms separation of the Middle Devonian Antarctilamna from a relationship with xenacanthid sharks.
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