Acanthodians from the Lower Devonian (Emsian) ‘Placoderm Sandstone’, Holy Cross Mountains, Poland.

Carole J Burrow, Piotr Szrek


The Lower Devonian ‘Placoderm Sandstone’ in the Holy Cross Mountains (HCM) is filled with abundant impressions of disarticulated vertebrate remains. The only acanthodian macroremains named to date are fin spines of Machaeracanthus polonicus Gürich. Fin spine impressions in slabs from the Winna Formation (Emsian) at Podłazie Hill (near Daleszyce) in the southern HCM, and also the Barcza Formation (?Lochkovian) at Barcza Quarry, Miedziana Góra Conglomerate (?Lochkovian), Gruchawka, and Zagórze Formation (middle–upper Emsian) at Bukowa Mountain in the northern HCM, reposited in the University of Warsaw, Polish Geological Institute-National Research Institute, Warsaw, and Natural History Museum, London collections, have been cast and studied in order to better document this poorly known taxon. As noted in other Machaeracanthus species, we have found that M. polonicus has two different morphotypes of spines, which abut lengthwise to form a pair of spines. Our investigations show that the fin spine assemblage includes Onchus overathensis as well as M. polonicus, and probably another undetermined acanthodian. The affinities of O. overathensis are reassessed. It is here considered to be a  diplacanthiform, and reassigned to the genus Striacanthus, as S. overathensis. Acanthodian scapulocoracoids have also been identified, as well as tightly spiralled toothwhorls which could be from an acanthodian.


Acanthodii; Machaeracanthus; Striacanthus; Onchus; Emsian; Poland

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