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Cretaceous Esocoidei (Teleostei): early radiation of the pikes in North American fresh waters

  • Mark V. H. Wilson (a1), Donald B. Brinkman (a2) and Andrew G. Neuman (a2)
Abstract

Contrary to ideas that Cretaceous fresh waters contained few teleosts, there were several taxa of Esocoidei (pikes and relatives) in North American Cretaceous rivers. Dentaries and palatines of Campanian to Maastrichtian age all have C-shaped tooth bases and other distinctive features of shape and foramina. The fossils include at least three distinct kinds, two of which are described here as new genera and species in the Esocidae: Estesesox foxi n. gen. and sp. and Oldmanesox canadensis n. gen. and sp.

These old, diverse, and apparently primitive specimens show that pikes radiated when Eurasia and North America were still joined. Some references in the literature to the Cretaceous fish Platacodon Marsh are based on referred dentaries that are here identified as esocoid fossils. The Esocidae are the first example of a family of Recent North American freshwater teleosts that has been shown to have speciated in Cretaceous fresh waters and survived the terminal Cretaceous extinction.

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Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
  • EISSN: 1937-2337
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-paleontology
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