New Deep Bodied Vertebrate from the Middle Triassic of China

Thanks to Ben Creisler for pointing this new paper out to me. I know the post title is slightly misleading, but how many of you would have come here if I had put "deep-bodied fish"? ;)

This is very well preserved specimen and pretty cool, admit it. :).

Xu, G. -H., and F.- X., Wu. 2011. A deep-bodied ginglymodian fish from the Middle Triassic of eastern Yunnan Province, China, and the phylogeny of lower neopterygians. Chinese Science Bulletin online first. DOI: 10.1007/s11434-011-4719-1. 


Abstract - The Ginglymodi are a group of ray-finned fishes that make up one of three major subdivisions of the infraclass Neopterygii. Extant ginglymodians are represented by gars, which inhabit freshwater environments of North and Central America and Cuba. Here, we report the discovery of well-preserved fossils of a new ginglymodian, Kyphosichthys grandei gen. et sp. nov., from the Middle Triassic (Anisian) marine deposits (Guanling Formation) in Luoping, eastern Yunnan Province, China. The discovery documents the first known fossil record of highly deep-bodied ginglymodians, adding new information on the early morphological diversity of this group. The studies of functional morphology of extant deep-bodied fishes indicate that Kyphosichthys is not a fast swimmer but has a good performance in precise maneuvering, representing a morphological adaptation to structurally complex habitats (e.g. thick macrophyte beds, rocky areas, or coral reefs), which differs from the other members of this group. A cladistic analysis with the new fish taxon included supports the hypothesis that the Ginglymodi are more closely related to the Halecomorphi than to the Teleostei. Represented by Felberia, Kyphosichthys, and Dapedium, a highly deep and short fish body type has independently evolved at least three times in the stem-group neopterygians, ginglymodians, and basal teleosts within the lower neopterygians of the Triassic.

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