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A New Order of Fishlike Amphibia From the Pennsylvanian of Kansas   By: (1907-1981)

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UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS PUBLICATIONS

MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

Volume 12, No. 4, pp. 217 240, 12 figs. May 2, 1960

A New Order of Fishlike Amphibia From the Pennsylvanian of Kansas

BY

THEODORE H. EATON, JR., AND PEGGY LOU STEWART

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS LAWRENCE 1960

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS PUBLICATIONS, MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

Editors: E. Raymond Hall, Chairman, Henry S. Fitch, Robert W. Wilson

Volume 12, No. 4, pp. 217 240, 12 figs. Published May 2, 1960

UNIVERSITY OF KANSAS Lawrence, Kansas

PRINTED IN THE STATE PRINTING PLANT TOPEKA, KANSAS 1960

28 2495

A New Order of Fishlike Amphibia From the Pennsylvanian of Kansas

BY

THEODORE H. EATON, JR., AND PEGGY LOU STEWART

INTRODUCTION

A slab of shale obtained in 1955 by Mr. Russell R. Camp from a Pennsylvanian lagoon deposit in Anderson County, Kansas, has yielded in the laboratory a skeleton of the small amphibian Hesperoherpeton garnettense Peabody (1958). This skeleton provides new and surprising information not available from the holotype, No. 9976 K. U., which consisted only of a scapulocoracoid, neural arch, and rib fragment. The new specimen, No. 10295 K. U., is of the same size and stage of development as the holotype and it is thought that both individuals are adults.

The quarry, University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Locality KAN 1/D, is approximately six miles northwest of Garnett, Anderson County, Kansas, in Sec. 5, T. 19S, R. 19E, 200 yards southwest of the place where Petrolacosaurus kansensis Lane was obtained (see Peabody, 1952). The Rock Lake shale, deposited under alternately marine and freshwater lagoon conditions, is a thin member of the Stanton limestone formation, Lansing group, Missourian series, and thus is in the lower part of the Upper Pennsylvanian.

Peabody (1958) placed Hesperoherpeton in the order Anthracosauria, suborder Embolomeri, family Cricotidae. Study of the second and more complete specimen reveals that Hesperoherpeton is unlike the known Embolomeri in many important features. The limbs and braincase are more primitive than those so far described in any amphibian. The vertebrae are comparable to those of Ichthyostegalia (Jarvik, 1952), as well as to those of Embolomeri. The forelimb is transitional between the pectoral fin of Rhipidistia and the limb of early Amphibia. The pattern of the bones of the forelimb closely resembles, but is simpler than, that of the hypothetical transitional type suggested by Eaton (1951). The foot seemingly had only four short digits. The hind limb is not known.

The new skeleton of Hesperoherpeton lies in an oblong block of limy shale measuring approximately 100 × 60 mm. After preparation of the entire lower surface, the exposed bones and matrix were embedded in Bioplastic, in a layer thin enough for visibility but giving firm support. Then the specimen was inverted and the matrix removed from the opposite side; this has not been covered with Bioplastic. The bones lie in great disorder, except that some parts of the roof of the skull are associated, and the middle section of the vertebral column is approximately in place. The bones of the left forelimb are close together but not in a natural position. The tail, pelvis, hind limbs and right forelimb are missing. Nearly all the bones present are broken, distorted by crushing, incomplete and scattered out of place, probably by the action of currents. The complete skeleton, in life, probably measured between 150 and 200 mm. in length.

The specimen was studied at the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, with the help of a grant from the National Science Foundation, number NSF G8624. The specimen was discovered in the slab by Miss Sharon K. Moriarty, and was further cleaned by the authors. Mr. Merton C. Bowman assisted with the illustrations. We are indebted to Dr. Robert W. Wilson for critical comments.

SKULL

Dorsal Aspect (Figs. 1, 2)

In reconstruction, the skull measures approximately 8.0 mm. dorsoventrally at the posterior end... Continue reading book >>




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