Alestid (Characiformes: Alestidae) fishes from the late Oligocene Nsungwe Formation, Rukwas Rift Basin, of Tanzania

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Alestidae is a clade of African characiform fishes including 19 extant genera and approximately 105 species that are known from Afro-Arabia, with records reported from the Eocene-Oligocene Jebel Qatrani Formation of Egypt, the Eocene Mahenge crater lake of Tanzania, and early Oligocene to Miocene sites on the Arabian Plate. Here we report the first record of alestid fishes from the late Oligocene Nsungwe Formation in the Rukwa Rift Basin of southwestern Tanzania. The Nsungwe alestid sample is composed of 92 teeth spanning a range of sizes and morphologies. Teeth are examined with regard to cusp number and organization, tooth position and replacement, and in the context of alestid jaw organization using modern, comparative representatives. Results suggest that at least two alestid taxa are represented in Nsungwe Formation localities. Hydrocynus teeth exhibit a single, conical cusp. Several of these specimens preserve a mesiodistally expanded crown and concave surface on the lingual aspect of the tooth. A second, unnamed taxon, with three morphological variants, is distinguished from Hydrocynus based on a multicuspid morphology of fully erupted teeth. The presence of these taxa in the late Oligocene of Africa below the equator provides key insights into the biogeography of the clade

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Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology


This article was published in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, June 2016.

The published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02724634.2016.1180299 .

Copyright © 2016 Taylor and Francis.

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