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

ABSTRACT

The ray-finned fish Plesiofuro mingshuica 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 Plesiofuro-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 Plesiofuro 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 Plesiofuro 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 www.tandfonline.com/UJVP

Citation for this article: Xu, G.-H., K.-Q. Gao, and M. I. Coates. 2015. Taxonomic revision of Plesiofuro mingshuica 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.