Taxonomic revision of <i>Plesiofuro mingshuica</i> from the Lower Triassic of northern Gansu, China, and the relationships of early neopterygian clades

<div><p>ABSTRACT</p><p>The ray-finned fish <i>Plesiofuro mingshuica</i> from the Triassic non-marine deposits of northern Gansu Province, China, was previously misidentified as a caturid halecomorph. This erroneous taxonomic assignment contributed to the misinterpretation of the age of the <i>Plesiofuro</i>-bearing fossil beds as Early Jurassic. Here, we provide a taxonomic revision of this problematic taxon based on a comparative study including over 500 new specimens. The revised description of <i>Plesiofuro</i> accommodates significant changes to the reconstruction of the snout, skull roof, cheek, circumorbital, and operculogular series, as well as the lower jaw. Results of a cladistic analysis incorporating these new data place <i>Plesiofuro</i> as a stem-group neopterygian. Additionally, phylogenetic results show that both ‘Perleidiformes’ and ‘Peltopleuriformes’ are paraphyletic, encompassing several independent stem-neopterygian subclades. As such, this study sheds new light on one of the least resolved areas of osteichthyan phylogeny: the so-called ‘subholosteans’ of the neopterygian total group. SUPPLEMENTAL DATA—Supplemental materials are available for this article for free at <a href="http://www.tandfonline.com/UJVP" target="_blank">www.tandfonline.com/UJVP</a></p><p>Citation for this article: Xu, G.-H., K.-Q. Gao, and M. I. Coates. 2015. Taxonomic revision of <i>Plesiofuro mingshuica</i> from the Lower Triassic of northern Gansu, China, and the relationships of early neopterygian clades. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2014.1001515.</p></div>