Abstract

A new Early Triassic coelacanth, Belemnocerca prolata, gen. et sp. nov., is described as a new member of the family Laugiidae. Although only one incomplete specimen is known, much can be deduced about its evolutionary relationships. In particular, the new coelacanth is most similar to one member of its family, Laugia groenlandica, in the asymmetry (dorsal lobe longer than ventral) and the gradually tapering shape of its caudal fin, though it differs in caudal fin ray count and anal fin position as well as in the size and shape of the supplementary lobe. Belemnocerca prolata is the westernmost occurrence of the family Laugiidae and only member of this family known to inhabit Panthalassa, west of the supercontinent Pangaea. The family Laugiidae has a temporal range from the Early Triassic to the Late Jurassic, and its members have been described from both Greenland and Germany.

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