An investigation of the genus \textitMesacanthus (Chordata: Acanthodii) from the Orcadian Basin and Midland Valley areas of Northern and Central Scotland using traditional morphometrics

Baron, Matthew G. (2015) An investigation of the genus \textitMesacanthus (Chordata: Acanthodii) from the Orcadian Basin and Midland Valley areas of Northern and Central Scotland using traditional morphometrics. PeerJ, 3. e1331. ISSN ESSN: 2167-8359 DOI 10.7717/peerj.1331

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Official URL: https://peerj.com/articles/1331

Abstract

Mesacanthus is a common and speciose genus of acanthodian fish from Lower Old Red Sandstone and Middle Old Red Sandstone assemblages (representing the Lower Devonian and Middle Devonian respectively) and is well represented in many palaeoichthyology collections in the UK. Based upon descriptions given during the 19th century, specimens of the genus Mesacanthus from the Orcadian Basin and Midland Valley areas of Northern and Central Scotland have historically been referred to a number of different species; of these, the most frequently discussed in the literature are M. mitchelli, M. peachi and M. pusillus. In order to test the validity of these three species, traditional morphometric analyses were carried out on over 100 specimens of Mesacanthus, from both the Lower Devonian and the Middle Devonian, that cover the full range of known localities for these taxa in Northern and Central Scotland. Based upon morphological and morphometric comparisons, this investigation has found that at least two species of Mesacanthus are valid (M. mitchelli and M. pusillus) as specimens from the Lower Devonian and Middle Devonian have been shown to differ significantly in a number of important ways. However, no evidence has been found for the validity of the second and distinct Middle Devonian species, M. peachi.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2015AREP; IA69; weekly list
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
07 - Gold Open Access
Journal or Publication Title: PeerJ
Volume: 3
Page Range: e1331
Identification Number: 10.7717/peerj.1331
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2015 15:37
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2016 17:27
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/3536

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