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Microcomputed tomography of the holotype of the early tetrapod Ichthyerpeton bradleyae (Huxley in Wright and Huxley, 1866) from the Pennsylvanian of Ireland

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 May 2021

Aodhán Ó Gogáin
Affiliation:
Department of Geology, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland <ogogaina@tcd.ie>, <wysjcknp@tcd.ie> Earth and Ocean Sciences, School of Natural Sciences, National University of Ireland Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland Irish Centre for Research in Applied Geoscience, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Patrick N. Wyse Jackson
Affiliation:
Department of Geology, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland <ogogaina@tcd.ie>, <wysjcknp@tcd.ie>
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Ichthyerpeton bradleyae (Huxley in Wright and Huxley, 1866) is one of the seven tetrapods originally described by Huxley from the Jarrow Assemblage (Pennsylvanian, Langsettian Regional Substage equated with the Bashkirian International Stage) in south-eastern Ireland. The holotype, one of only two specimens considered to represent the taxon, consists of the postcranial skeleton, which has been highly compressed and has undergone extensive replacement of bone by carbonaceous material. The holotype is studied using microcomputed tomography, which reveals that the vertebral column has at least 25 diplospondylous vertebrae with cylindrical centra. Neural arches and a haemal arch are described for the first time. Neural arches in the caudal region are paired and neural spines only contact one another dorsally. The hemal arch is fused and wraps around the ventral margin of the centrum. A stout femur and tibia are described. The morphology of the femur is unique for early tetrapods, with fibular and tibial condyles of similar length and lacking an adductor crest. The morphology of the femur, and its length relative to the tibia, suggests that the holotype of I. bradleyae preserves an immature individual. The tibia is a flat bone characteristic of stem tetrapods. Phalanges from the right and left pes are present. Because the phalanges are disarticulated, a phalangeal count cannot be determined. Despite the new anatomical information, the systematic position of I. bradleyae is still difficult to establish; however, it does not belong within the colosteids, temnospondyls, or embolomeres, to which it has previously been assigned.

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Paleontological Society

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Microcomputed tomography of the holotype of the early tetrapod Ichthyerpeton bradleyae (Huxley in Wright and Huxley, 1866) from the Pennsylvanian of Ireland
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Microcomputed tomography of the holotype of the early tetrapod Ichthyerpeton bradleyae (Huxley in Wright and Huxley, 1866) from the Pennsylvanian of Ireland
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