Abstract

Gondolella pohli new species assemblages, from the Desmoinesian of Illinois, confirm that the initial apparatus reconstruction of the conodont genus Gondolella was incomplete and support later reconstructions based on discrete elements. Gondolella pohli is the first species of a biostratigraphically important conodont genus to be based primarily on assemblages and to be placed within a known phylogeny. The 43 assemblages confirm the presence of seven distinct element types in the Gondolella apparatus and permit the reconstruction of each of these to a greater degree than previously possible. Because the assemblages are probably all fecal, the apparatus of the closely related Neogondolella is used to interpret the apparatus plan--the position and identity of the 15 elements--single pairs of Pa, Pb, M, Sb 1 , and Sb 2 elements, two pairs of Sc elements, and an unpaired bilaterally symmetrical Sa element in the Gondolella apparatus. Using the similarity of the latter to the apparatuses of the better known ozarkodinids, we infer a three-dimensional fanlike apparatus architecture for the prioniodinid Gondolella. Gondolella is apparently restricted to the Pennsylvanian and probably evolved in the Early Pennsylvanian from the Idioprioniodus-Embsaygnathus lineage by loss of the Pa element posterior process and by remodelling of the other apparatus elements. Some species in the Idioprioniodus-Gondolella lineage are atypical among prioniodinids in having developed a Pa element platform; the lineage is also noteworthy because both ancestor and descendant inhabited low-energy, low pH environments during the Pennsylvanian.

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