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Systematics and description of the lungfish genus Sagenodus from the Carboniferous of the UK

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 January 2020

Esther L. BEEBY
University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK. Email: 25 Jays Mead, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, GL12 7JF, UK.
University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK. Email:
Jennifer A. CLACK*
University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EJ, UK. Email:
*Corresponding author


The Carboniferous lungfish genus Sagenodus is reviewed from all available British specimens and described in detail for the first time. We identify two species exclusive to the UK: Sagenodusinaequalis, the type species, deriving from the late Carboniferous (=Pennsylvanian); and Sagenodus quinquecostatus derived from the early Carboniferous (=Mississippian). The genus is probably the most widespread of the known Carboniferous lungfish genera, but the British species have not been formally described since their discovery in the mid–late 19th Century. This work will provide data to help resolve existing questions about the position of Sagenodus in the phylogeny of Palaeozoic lungfishes, and provide a template for the recognition of isolated elements in museum collections and the finds from recent and future field work. The early Carboniferous species, S. quinquecostatus, shows a so far unique functional mechanism in which the lower tooth plates appear to rotate relative to the upper plates during jaw closure, implying a kinetic function at the symphysis or jaw joint.

Copyright © The Royal Society of Edinburgh 2020 

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