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Middle Triassic conodont apparatus architecture revealed by synchrotron x-ray microtomography

journal contribution
posted on 2019-12-01, 00:00 authored by J Y Huang, C Martínez-Pérez, S X Hu, P C J Donoghue, Q Y Zhang, C Y Zhou, W Wen, M J Benton, Mao Luo, H Z Yao, K X Zhang
The composition of conodont apparatuses is crucial for understanding the feeding mechanisms of these early vertebrates. However, the multielement apparatus reconstructions of most species remain equivocal because they have been inferred from loose element collections, guided by knowledge from rare articulated ‘bedding plane assemblages’ and fused clusters, often from distantly related taxa. Even these natural assemblages can be difficult to interpret because the component elements can be closely juxtaposed or embedded in matrix, making it hard to discern the morphology of each element and their relative positions within the architecture of the feeding apparatus. Here we report five exceptionally preserved conodont clusters from the Middle Triassic Luoping Biota, Yunnan Province, Southwest China. These materials were scanned using synchrotron radiation X-ray tomographic microscopy (SRXTM), revealing the morphology and positional homology of the component elements in the fused clusters. We confirm that the apparatus of Nicoraella was composed of eight types of elements, comprising a total of 15 elements. SRXTM reveals the positional homologies of the component elements, viz. a single alate element is located in the S0position, flanked successively abaxially by pairs of breviform digyrate S1and S2elements, bipennate S3and S4elements, and a pair of inwardly curved breviform digyrate M elements. Carminate elements occupy the P1and P2positions. The apparatus of Nicoraella is among the most completely characterised of all conodonts and serves as a template for the reconstruction of gondollellids.

History

Journal

Palaeoworld

Volume

28

Issue

4

Pagination

429 - 440

Publisher

Elsevier

Location

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

ISSN

1871-174X

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Elsevier Ireland Ltd Elsevier B.V.