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Abstract

Placoid and polyodontode scales of stem chondrichthyans have been found in the early Lochkovian “Ditton Group” of the Brown Clee Hill district, Shropshire, England and at Talgarth, south Wales. One of the forms is assigned to a new species of Altholepis Karatajūtė-Talimaa, 1997, a genus already recognised from Lochkovian shallow marine deposits in Celtiberia, Spain and the Northwest Territories, Canada as well as the type locality in Podolia, Ukraine. Altholepis salopensis sp. nov. is based on small polyodontode scales with typically three to eight high odontodes; the scale form was previously considered to belong to acanthodian “Nostolepis” robusta (Brotzen, 1934). The structure of other scales formerly assigned to “Nostolepis” robusta has led us to erect a new genus Jolepis for this scale form, which differs from Altholepis in lacking an ordered layout of odontodes. Jolepis robusta (Brotzen, 1934), originally (and possibly still) considered to be an acanthodian, is also known from the Baltic countries, Russia, and northern Germany (ex erratic limestones). Scales of acanthodian Parexus recurvus Agassiz, 1845, and/or possibly from the stem chondrichthyan Seretolepis elegans Karatajūtė-Talimaa, 1968 (scales of these two taxa are barely distinguishable), and of stem chondrichthyan Polymerolepis whitei Karatajūtė-Talimaa, 1968 are also present. Altholepis, Jolepis gen. nov., Seretolepis Karatajūtė-Talimaa, 1968 and Polymerolepis Karatajūtė- Talimaa, 1968 are found in marine deposits elsewhere; the British occurrence of these taxa adds to the debate on the sedimentological origins of the Lower Old Red Sandstone deposits in the Welsh Borderland. The geographic range of several early sharks is now known to extend around the Old Red Sandstone continent and beyond.
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Abstract

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.
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Abstract

Ischnacanthus gracilis (Egerton, 1861), the only ischnacanthiform acanthodian from the Lochkovian Lower Old Red Sandstone of Scotland, is known from hundreds of specimens in institutional collections worldwide. Despite this relative abundance, morphology and histology of its skeletal elements have rarely been investigated. Surface details of spines, dental elements, and scales are often not visible in specimens because they are usually split through the middle. We have examined a broad size range of fish, from 35 mm to 250 mm long. Several intact (not split) specimens have been collected in recent years and acid-prepared to show fine details of the dermal and dental elements. We have also used scanning electron microscopy of scales, jaws and dental elements, denticles and fin spines, and serial thin sectioning of articulated specimens, to document their structure. Some of our notable observations include: identification of ventral lateral lines, double-layered subtessellate calcified cartilage forming the jaws, and the probable occurrence of extraoral tricuspid denticles on the jaws of most fish. Examination of the size range, body proportions and dentition of institutional specimens gives no support for recognising more than one species in the Midland Valley localities.
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