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Maxwell, Erin E.; López-Arbarello, Adriana (2018): A new species of the deep-bodied actinopterygian Dapedium from the Middle Jurassic (Aalenian) o f southwestern Germany. In: PeerJ, Vol. 6, e5033
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Abstract

Dapedium is one of the most abundant and diverse genera of ganoid fishes from the Early Jurassic fossil lagerstatte of Europe. In spite of its abundance, however, its timing of extinction is poorly constrained, with the youngest described material being Early Jurassic in age. We describe new diagnostic and relatively complete material of a large species of Dapedium (standard length estimated at 50 cm) from the Middle Jurassic (earliest Aalenian) Opalinuston Formation of Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany. The Aalenian material represents a distinct species, D. ballei sp. nov., differing from Early Jurassic species in a unique combination of characters pertaining to the shape of the dermal skull elements, pectoral fin position, and scale shape and ornamentation. However, although D. ballei sp. nov. exhibits a unique combination of characters, there are no autapomorphies with which to distinguish it from the Toarcian species of Dapedium. Dapedium ballei represents the geologically youngest species of Dapedium, extending the range of this genus into the Middle Jurassic. The Opalinuston Formation fills an important gap in the marine vertebrate fossil record, and finds from this horizon have the potential to greatly improve our understanding of evolutionary dynamics over this period of faunal transition.