A new cochliodont anterior tooth plate from the Mississippian of Alabama (USA) having implications for the origin of tooth plates from tooth files

W. Itano & L.L. Lambert, published in Zoological Letters 4(12)

Paleozoic holocephalian tooth plates are rarely found articulated in their original positions. When they are found isolated, it is difficult to associate the small, anterior tooth plates with the larger, more posterior ones. Tooth plates are presumed to have evolved from fusion of tooth files. However, there is little fossil evidence for this hypothesis.

Holotype of Arcuodus multicuspidatus. a Occlusal view. Lingual end to right. Scale bar = 5 mm. bLateral view. Lingual end to right. Scale bar = 5 mm. c Lingual view. Scale bar = 2 mm. d Basal view. Lingual end to right. Scale bar = 5 mm

We report a tooth plate having nearly perfect bilateral symmetry from the Mississippian (Chesterian Stage) Bangor Limestone of Franklin County, Alabama, USA. The high degree of symmetry suggests that it may have occupied a symphyseal or parasymphyseal position. The tooth plate resembles Deltodopsisbialveatus St. John and Worthen, 1883, but differs in having a sharp ridge with multiple cusps arranged along the occlusal surface of the presumed labiolingual axis, rather than a relatively smooth occlusal surface. The multicusped shape is suggestive of a fused tooth file. The middle to latest Chesterian (Serpukhovian) age is determined by conodonts found in the same bed.

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