New material of an unusual tetrapodomorph fish from the Middle Devonian of central Australia

Chen Wei Choo, Benedict King, John Long, Gavin Young

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Outcrops of the Middle Devonian Harajica Sandstone Member of the Parke Siltstone in central Australia (Northern Territory) have produced a well preserved fossil fish assemblage, comprising the antiarch Bothriolepis sp., the phyllolepid Placolepis harajica (Young, 2005), a Striacanthus-like acanthodian and the dipnoan Harajicadipterus youngi (Clement, 2009). The fifth, and perhaps most intriguing member of this fauna is an as yet undescribed basal tetrapodomorph originally based on several partial skulls and incomplete postcrania in the Australian National University collections recovered in the 1980s and 1990s. Preliminary work by Tim Holland, formerly at Museum Victoria, revealed an unusual combination of features in this taxon, including a long parietal shield relative to the posteriorly broad postparietal, tiny orbits and enlarged spiracular openings (Long, Holland & Young, 2012). In 2016, a joint expedition from Flinders University and ANU revisited the site and a large quantity of new fossil material was collected and prepared at Flinders University. Of particular importance was the discovery of the first and only complete specimen of the Harajica tetrapodomorph in dorsal view. The find firmly establishes that the previously scattered partial remains constitute a single new tetrapodomorph taxon and provides previously unknown details of the body and fins. A rigorous reconstruction of the entire fish is presented for the first time. A phylogenetic analysis resolved the new form as the most basal member of the Canowindridae, extending the geological range of this endemic Gondwanan clade into central Australia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2017
    Event14th International Symposium on Early and Lower Vertebrates -
    Duration: 3 Jul 2017 → …


    Conference14th International Symposium on Early and Lower Vertebrates
    Period3/07/17 → …


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