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Abstract Detail


Bronson, Allison [1], Denton, John [1], Maisey, John [1].

Platylithophycus: A taxonomic journey through three phyla.

Misidentified fossils are common in paleontology, but Platylithophycus has experienced a particularly problematic series of descriptions. The fossil in question is a 50 cm by 25 cm chunk from the Upper Cretaceous Niobrara Chalk of Kansas. It was named according to the rules of botanical nomenclature, by Johnson and Howell (1948), who described it as a calcareous green alga, based on the fossil’s surface texture. Later, Miller and Walker (1968) re-identified it a coleoid cephalopod, based partly on a comparison of microstructure between Platylithophycus and the internal pen of modern sepiid squids. The fossil was kept in the teaching collection at the University of Nebraska, where, according to paleontological legend, an undergraduate student suggested that the fossil might be part of a cartilaginous fish, based on the fossil's tessellated surface. However, that interpretation has not been formally proposed until now. Utilizing computed tomographic scanning and modeling techniques, and based on both its textural qualities and overall morphology, the holotype of Platylithophycus is re-described as part of the branchial endoskeleton of an elasmobranch.

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1 - American Museum of Natural History, Division of Paleontology, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY, 10024, USA

computed tomography.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Paleobotanical Section Posters
Location: Exhibit Hall/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 1st, 2016
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 5:30 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PPB001
Abstract ID:366
Candidate for Awards:None

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