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Article: Reassessment of 'Cladodus' neilsoni Traquair: a primitive shark from the Lower Carboniferous of East Kilbride, Scotland

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 43
Part: 1
Publication Date: April 2000
Page(s): 153 172
Author(s): S. E. K. Sequeira and M. I. Coates
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How to Cite

SEQUEIRA, S. E. K., COATES, M. I. 2000. Reassessment of 'Cladodus' neilsoni Traquair: a primitive shark from the Lower Carboniferous of East Kilbride, Scotland. Palaeontology43, 1, 153–172.

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The partly articulated specimen of the Palaeozoic (Early Carboniferous) chondrichthyan 'Cladodus' neilsoni Traquair from East Kilbride has been known since the late nineteenth century. As such, 'C.' neilsoni Traquair has been cited in numerous publications, but it has become increasingly clear that its anatomy and systematic affinities are obscure. This comprehensive redescription of 'C.' neilsoni reveals new details of the neurocranium (including presence of an otico-occipital fissure), dentition, visceral arches (clarifying the condition of the basibranchial pattern plus elongate copula), and pectoral fin. These data refute previously suggested synonymies, such as between 'C' neilsoni and the contemporaneous Bearsden Stethacanthus. Attribution of 'C.' neilsoni to the taxonomically unsupportable genus 'Cladodus' is rejected, and the species is redesignated as Gutturensis neilsoni gen. nov. Preliminary cladistic analysis places Gutturensis neilsoni within a polytomy including Stethacanthus, the symmoriid Cobelodus, and the root of a monophyletic group of neoselachian-like genera. 'Cladodont' as a diagnostic term for early chondrichthyan teeth is found to be insufficiently precise, referring to an ill-defined grade of tooth morphologies present in a wide variety of Palaeozoic genera.
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