Abstract

A number of partial articulated specimens of Cheiracanthus peachi nov. sp. have been collected from the Mey Flagstone Formation and Rousay Flagstone Formation within the Orcadian Basin of northern Scotland. The new, robust-bodied species is mainly distinguished by the scale ornament of radiating grooves rather than ridges. Compared to other Cheiracanthus species in the Orcadian Basin, C. peachi nov. sp. has quite a short range making it a useful zone fossil. As well as describing the general morphology of the specimens, we have also described and figured SEM images of scales and histological sections of all elements, enabling identification of other, isolated remains. Of particular biological interest is the identification of relatively robust, tooth-like gill rakers. Finally, the species has also been identified from isolated scales in Belarus, where it appears earlier and has a longer stratigraphical range, implying the species evolved in the marine deposits of the east and migrated west into the Orcadian Basin via the river systems.

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