Abstract

A new species, Bananogmius ellisensis n. sp., known only from the holotype, is described from the Blue Hill Shale Member (Upper Cretaceous, middle Middle Turonian) of the Carlile Shale Formation in western Kansas. The skull and anterior portion of the specimen is well-preserved and was subjected to little post-mortem deformation suggesting rapid burial. The nearly complete skull shows three characters that separate the fish from other species of Bananogmius: a straight, rather than ventrally curved dentary, a narrow band of teeth on the dentary that does not extend onto its lateral side, and a cylindrically-shaped articular condyle of the quadrate. The uncompressed preservation of the skull reveals a pair of long structures ventral to the mandible that are also found, but not described for some other Bananogmius species. Based on the positions of muscles in extant teleosts, these structures are most likely the mineralized protractor hyoidei muscles. Furthermore, these structures may be homologous with ventral structures found in Tselfatia. The presence of Bananogmius adds a new ecological component to the Blue Hill Shale fauna.

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