Dobrogeria aegyssensis, a new early Spathian (Early Triassic) coelacanth from North Dobrogea (Romania)

Lionel Cavin, Eugen Gradinaru


The Early Triassic witnessed the highest taxic diversity of coelacanths (or Actinistia), a clade with a single living genus today. This peak of diversity is accentuated here with the description of a new coelacanth discovered in the lower Spathian (Upper Olenekian, Lower Triassic) cropping out in the Tulcea Veche (Old Tulcea) promontory, in the city of Tulcea, in North Dobrogea, Romania. The bone remains were preserved in a block of limestone, which was chemically dissolved. The resulting 3D and matrix-free ossifications correspond mostly to elements of the skull and branchial apparatus. Posterior parietals, postparietal with associated prootic and basisphenoid allow a precise description of the neurocranium. Ossifications of the lower jaw, together with branchial and pectoral elements, complete the description of this coelacanth and support the coining of a new generic and specific name, Dobrogeria aegyssensis. A phylogenetic analysis of actinistians with the new species recovers clades which were found in most recent analyses, i.e. the Sasseniidae, the Laugiidae, the Coelacanthiformes, the Latimerioidei, the Mawsoniidae and the Latimeriidae, and identifies the new taxon as a non-latimerioid coelacanthiform.


Actinistia; Latimeriidae; Triassic; Braincase; New taxon; Skul

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