The Late Jurassic Ray Kimmerobatis etchesi gen. et sp. nov. and the Jurassic Radiation of the Batoidea

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The laminated marine mudstones of the Late Jurassic of Kimmeridge, southern England, yield two exceptionally well-preserved partial skeletons of a previously unrecognised species of early batoid. These are described as a new genus and species, Kimmerobatis etchesi gen. et sp. nov. which has a general “guitarfish” bauplan as in all other batoids known from the Jurassic. This species possesses a combination of primitive characters such as centra present within the majority of the synarcual and antorbital cartilages that fail to reach the pectoral skeleton along with more derived characters, such as the lack of fin spines. Until now, little study has been carried out on the affinities of Jurassic batoids, despite their key role in understanding batoid evolution. Results from parsimony and likelihood phylogenetic reconstruction indicates that the whole-bodied Jurassic batoids Spathobatis, Belemnobatis, and Kimmerobatis gen. nov. form their own clade, Spathobatidae, and do not lend support to a monophyletic “Rhinobatidae”. Among Jurassic batoids, Kimmerobatis gen. nov. is most derived, but with derived characters being independently acquired compared to modern batoids (e.g. presence of a postpelvic process). The inclusion of whole bodied Jurassic fossils have generated a more resolved hypothesis of batoid evolution throughout the Cretaceous and into the Cenozoic.

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Proceedings of the Geologists' Association


This article was published in Proceedings of the Geologists' Association.

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