Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Rhizodont crossopterygian fish from the Dinantian of Foulden, Berwickshire, Scotland, with a re-evaluation of this group

  • S. M. Andrews (a1)

Material of crossopterygian fishes from Foulden, Berwickshire, is important in including the first known entire specimen giving a clear picture of the body form of the Family Rhizodontidae (sensu Andrews 1973). This group is specialised in having numerous subsidiary lateral lines on the body, a ventrally expanded shoulder girdle, fins with peculiar stiffened structure, the pectorals forming greatly enlarged paddles and other fins being reduced in size. The Foulden remains fall into large and small size-ranges occurring largely at different levels in the sequence, but although these may represent growth in one taxon the available parts of the body are mostly complementary. Separate preliminary descriptions of the two size-ranges are therefore given, the small complete form being named ?Strepsodus anculonamensis sp. nov., and the large form remaining unnamed pending further study. An abridged historical account of previously named rhizodont genera (Rhizodus, Strepsodus, Sauripterus and Pycnoctenion) is given in order to explain why the new Foulden form(s) cannot at present be generically assigned more closely. A revised diagnosis of the Family Rhizodontidae leads to a discussion of the functional morphology and mode of life of fish of this type. Analogies with modern forms indicate that, like some sharks and crocodiles, they may have fed by tearing flesh off large prey, rotating or shaking against its inertia. Ways in which variously shaped rhizodont teeth (recurved, sigmoid etc.) may have functioned are suggested. Addenda deal with (1) the possible occurrence at Foulden of a large lungfish and (2) (after considering primitive and advanced rhizodont features) the renaming of Rhizodus ornatus Traquair 1878 from higher in the Scottish lower Carboniferous, as the type of a new genus, Screbinodus.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

J. L. R. Agassiz 18331843 (1844). Recherches sur les poissons fossiles Text (5 vols) & Atlas (5 vols). Neuchatel: Petitpierre.

W. Buckland 1837. Geology and mineralogy considered with reference to natural theology (2 vols). London: William Pickering.

H. B. Cott 1961. Scientific results of an inquiry into the ecology and economic status of the Nile Crocodile (Crocodilus niloticus) in Uganda and Northern Rhodesia. TRANS ZOOL SOC LONDON 29, 211358.

J. W. Dawson 1868. Acadian geology. The geological structure, organic remains, and mineral resources of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, 2nd edn. London: Macmillan.

T. H. Frazzetta 1966. Studies on the morphology and function of the skull in the Boidae (Serpentes). Part II. Morphology and function of the jaw apparatus in Python sebae and Python molurus. J MORPHOL 118, 217–96.

J. A. Hancock & T. Atthey 1868. Notes on the remains of some reptiles and fishes from the shales of the Northumberland coal-field. ANN MAG NAT HIST (4) 1, 266–78, 346–78.

J. A. Hancock & T. Atthey 1870. Note on an undescribed fossil fish from the Newsham coal-shale near Newcastle upon Tyne. ANN MAG NAT HIST (4) 5, 266–8.

J. A. Hancock & T. Atthey 1871. Description of a considerable portion of a mandibular ramus of Anthracosaurus russelli; with notes on Loxomma and Archichthys. ANN MAG NAT HIST (4) 7, 7383.

G. Lyon 1871. On a new species of Rhizodus. TRANS EDINBURGH GEOL SOC 2, 125.

L. C. Miall 1875. On the structure of the skull of Rhizodus. Q J GEOL SOC LONDON 31, 624–7.

R. S. Miles 1970. Remarks on the vertebral column and caudal fin of acanthodian fishes. LETHAIA 3, 343–62.

A. Somervail 1872. On the occurrence of Strepsodus and Rhizodopsis in the Upper Coal Measures of Edmonstone, Midlothian. TRANS EDINBURGH GEOL SOC 2, 137–8.

S. Springer 1961. Dynamics of the feeding mechanism of large galeoid sharks. AM ZOOL 1, 183–5.

T. Stock 1883. On the discovery of a nearly entire Rhizodus in the Wardie shales. TRANS EDINBURGH GEOL SOC 4, 38–9.

K. S. Thomson 1966. Megalichthys and Rhizodus (Pisces, Rhipidistia): proposal for the stabilization of these generic names. BULL ZOOL NOMENCL 23, 117–20.

K. S. Thomson 1967. Mechanisms of intracranial kinetics in fossil rhipidistian fishes (Crossopterygii) and their relatives. J LINN SOC (ZOOL) 46, 223–53.

R. H. Traquair 1875. On some fossil fishes from the neighbourhood of Edinburgh. ANN MAG NAT HIST (4), 15, 258–68.

R. H. Traquair 1877. On the structure of the lower jaw in Rhizodopsis and Rhizodus. ANN MAG NAT HIST (4), 19, 299305.

F. S. Wallis 1928. The Old Red Sandstone of the Bristol district. Q J GEOL SOC LONDON 83, 760–89.

E. I. White & D. Baird 1967. Comment on the proposals concerning the generic names Megalichthys and Rhizodus Pisces. BULL ZOOL NOMENCL 24, 262.

J. Young 1865. Notice on the occurrence of Rhizodus hibberti in Carboniferous strata in the neighbourhood of Glasgow. TRANS GEOL SOC GLASGOW 2, 38–9.

J. Young 1866a. Note on the scales of Rhizodus Owen. Q J GEOL SOC LONDON 22, 317.

J. Young 1866b. Notice of new genera of Carboniferous glyptodipterines. Q J GEOL SOC LONDON 22, 596608.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Earth and Environmental Science Transactions of The Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • ISSN: 1755-6910
  • EISSN: 1755-6929
  • URL: /core/journals/earth-and-environmental-science-transactions-of-royal-society-of-edinburgh
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 2 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 303 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th May 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.