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Early Pennsylvanian (Langsettian) fish assemblages from the Joggins Formation, Canada, and their implications for palaeoecology and palaeogeography

Early Pennsylvanian (Langsettian) fish assemblages from the Joggins Formation, Canada, and their implications for palaeoecology and palaeogeography
Early Pennsylvanian (Langsettian) fish assemblages from the Joggins Formation, Canada, and their implications for palaeoecology and palaeogeography
A review of all available specimens of fossil fishes from the classic Pennsylvanian Joggins locality of Nova Scotia, Canada, reveals the existence of a diverse community of chondrichthyans (xenacanthids, ctenacanthids and the enigmatic Ageleodus), acanthodians (gyracanthids), sarcopterygians (rhizodontids, megalichthyids, rhizodopsids and dipnoans) and actinopterygians (haplolepids). Reassessment of supposed endemic species (Ctenoptychius cristatus, Sagenodus plicatus, Gyracanthus duplicatus) indicates they are invalid, and overall, the assemblage comprises cosmopolitan taxa that were widespread around the coasts of tropical Pangaea. Strontium isotope analysis of fish remains and a critical study of their facies context suggest that these fish communities occupied bodies of water with salinities across the marine–freshwater spectrum. This preponderance of euryhaline forms implies a community structure quite distinct from that of today and might represent a transitory phase prior to the establishment of fully freshwater fish communities. Interpretation of fish ecology provides further evidence that the Joggins Formation was deposited in a paralic setting, and the recognition of one previously undetected brackish incursion strengthens the link between sedimentary cycles at Joggins and Milankovitch-induced glacio-eustatic change. Furthermore, interregional correlation of these marine transgressions supports palynostratigraphical arguments for an early Langsettian age for the Joggins Formation. This places tighter constraints on the age of the earliest known crown amniote, Hylonomus lyelli, an important calibration point used in phylogenomic studies.
Carboniferous, Nova Scotia, strontium isotope analysis, euryhaline community, endemism, palaeosalinity
0031-0239
661-690
Carpenter, David K.
7e85c586-af81-4a0d-bcd1-27cd4a5187f2
Falcon-Lang, Howard J.
11bb5611-02b4-4e8e-a7b6-3f8fea812a34
Benton, Michael J.
a0bcafa3-53ea-40ed-ae67-313e957904e0
Grey, Melissa
73b10989-edea-43ef-93cb-4c6deedbc255
Johanson, Zerina
e8ddad3e-a305-49b7-b7d1-cb5a19c3a208
Carpenter, David K.
7e85c586-af81-4a0d-bcd1-27cd4a5187f2
Falcon-Lang, Howard J.
11bb5611-02b4-4e8e-a7b6-3f8fea812a34
Benton, Michael J.
a0bcafa3-53ea-40ed-ae67-313e957904e0
Grey, Melissa
73b10989-edea-43ef-93cb-4c6deedbc255
Johanson, Zerina
e8ddad3e-a305-49b7-b7d1-cb5a19c3a208

Carpenter, David K., Falcon-Lang, Howard J., Benton, Michael J., Grey, Melissa and Johanson, Zerina (2015) Early Pennsylvanian (Langsettian) fish assemblages from the Joggins Formation, Canada, and their implications for palaeoecology and palaeogeography. Palaeontology, 58 (4), 661-690. (doi:10.1111/pala.12164).

Record type: Article

Abstract

A review of all available specimens of fossil fishes from the classic Pennsylvanian Joggins locality of Nova Scotia, Canada, reveals the existence of a diverse community of chondrichthyans (xenacanthids, ctenacanthids and the enigmatic Ageleodus), acanthodians (gyracanthids), sarcopterygians (rhizodontids, megalichthyids, rhizodopsids and dipnoans) and actinopterygians (haplolepids). Reassessment of supposed endemic species (Ctenoptychius cristatus, Sagenodus plicatus, Gyracanthus duplicatus) indicates they are invalid, and overall, the assemblage comprises cosmopolitan taxa that were widespread around the coasts of tropical Pangaea. Strontium isotope analysis of fish remains and a critical study of their facies context suggest that these fish communities occupied bodies of water with salinities across the marine–freshwater spectrum. This preponderance of euryhaline forms implies a community structure quite distinct from that of today and might represent a transitory phase prior to the establishment of fully freshwater fish communities. Interpretation of fish ecology provides further evidence that the Joggins Formation was deposited in a paralic setting, and the recognition of one previously undetected brackish incursion strengthens the link between sedimentary cycles at Joggins and Milankovitch-induced glacio-eustatic change. Furthermore, interregional correlation of these marine transgressions supports palynostratigraphical arguments for an early Langsettian age for the Joggins Formation. This places tighter constraints on the age of the earliest known crown amniote, Hylonomus lyelli, an important calibration point used in phylogenomic studies.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 21 April 2015
Published date: July 2015
Keywords: Carboniferous, Nova Scotia, strontium isotope analysis, euryhaline community, endemism, palaeosalinity
Organisations: Paleooceanography & Palaeoclimate

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 376442
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/376442
ISSN: 0031-0239
PURE UUID: 6344d00a-2038-4d3f-9d79-7c2c055d71a4

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Apr 2015 09:12
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 21:09

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