A giant dapediid from the Late Triassic of Switzerland and insights into neopterygian phylogeny

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A new Triassic neopterygian is described on the basis of a large three-dimensional neurocranium from the Rhaetian (Late Triassic) of the Kössen Formation (Schesaplana, Grisons, Switzerland). CT scanning reveals neurocranial features similar to Dapedium, suggesting that this new genus, Scopulipiscis saxciput gen. et sp. nov., was deep-bodied and potentially durophagous, although no associated dental material is known. An expanded phylogenetic analysis of actinopterygians resolves Dapediidae as a clade (inclusive of Tetragonolepis), although fails to recover any characters supporting the monophyly of the genus Dapedium. Dapediids are resolved as stem holosteans, filling a conspicuous gap in early neopterygian relationships. Pycnodonts, previously suggested as either stem teleosts or the sister group to dapediids, are resolved as a clade on the neopterygian stem. Similarities between the new taxon described here and Dapedium provide insights into morphological disparity within early members of the group—suggesting that the ecological expansion of dapediids originated prior to the End-Triassic extinction—as well as contributing to a growing understanding of endocranial anatomy in Palaeozoic and Early Mesozoic actinopterygians.


Original languageEnglish
Article number180497
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018