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Ischnacanthus now nests with Sauropsis in the LRT

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We’ll see how long this lasts,
but the superficial similarities and LRT scores seem to rock solid.

Phylogenetic analysis is a step-by-step process
working with crushed and sometimes smeared specimens like Late Silurian to Early Devonian Ischnacanthus (Fig 1) that need to be un-crushed and un-smeared using DGS. A now related taxon, Late Jurassic Sauropsis (Fig 2) is more readily understood with near perfect preservation.

Figure 1. Sauropsis compared to the earlier and smaller Ischnacanthus. Colors added here.

The long fragile teeth of Ischnacanthus
(Fig 2) were crushed during burial. Here they are returned to their in vivo positions (some guesswork involved, of course).

The pelvic spines of Sauropsis
(Fig 1) were not seen at first, even though the anal fin is a robust spine and spines appear to be buried in the pectoral fins.

Ischnacanthus gracilis
(Egerton 1861, orginally Diplacanthus gracilis, Burrow et al 2018; Miles 1973; Early Devonian, 410 mya; up to 2m in length, this specimen is 10cm, ) is an early acanthodian with tiny teeth. In this specimen the insitu skull is telescoped into the body. The vertebrae are preserved in a winding fashion. The reconstruction straightens out the backbone and repairs the taphonomically displaced facial bones.

Sauropsis longimanus
(Agassiz 1843; Tithonian, Late Jurassic; 30cm) is a Solnhofen fish originally allied with Pachycormiformes. Here it nests with the Early Devonian spiny shark, Ischnacanthus.

Agassiz L 1833-43. Recherches sur les poissons fossiles. Imprimerie de Petitpierre et Prince, Neuchâtel.
Burrow CJ et al. 2018. The Early Devonian ischnacanthiform acanthodian Ischnacanthus gracilis (Egerton, 1861) from the Midland Valley of Scotland. Acta Geologica Polonica 68(3): 335–362
Egerton P de MG 1861. British fossils. (Descriptions of Tristichopterus, Acanthodes, Climatius, Diplacanthus, Cheiracanthus). Memoirs of the Geological Survey of the United Kingdom (British Organic Remains), Decade 10: 51–75.
Miles R 1973. Articulated acanthodian fishes from the Old Red Sandstone of England, with a review of the structure and evolution of the acanthodian shoulder-girdle. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), 24, 111–213.



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