Setting up Pangaea: Triassic
Eugeneodontid sharks, previously believed to have become virtually extinct during the great end-Permian extinction event, are here shown to be diverse in the Early Triassic of western Canada. Although the specimens are probably predominantly Olenekian in age, they show an abundance similar to that of the Late Permian of East Greenland. Similar in size and morphology to their Palaeozoic predecessors, this diverse assemblage is seen to have a short duration within the Early Triassic. A number of identifiable dentitions and postcranial skeletal remains suggest the presence of at least two caseodontid species (Caseodus varidentis sp. nov. and Fadenia uroclasmato sp. nov.) and an edestoid (Paredestus bricircum gen. et sp. nov.) Many other specimens recovered from the Lower Triassic Vega-Phroso Siltstone Member (Sulphur Mountain Formation) at Wapiti Lake are too poorly preserved for identification but help demonstrate the major taxonomic problems in eugeneodontid systematics. We discuss the survival of this highly specialized group of ‘sharks’ and comment on their biogeographical distribution across the Permo-Triassic boundary.