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Title: The morphology and phylogeny of the European members of order Rhizodontida (Pisces: Sarcopterygii)
Author: Jeffery, J. E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis covers aspects of the Rhizodontida, an extinct group of freshwater lobe-finned fishes. The first section comprises a detailed review of the scientific literature on these fossil fish, from 1793 to the present. This is of particular relevance to the taxonomy of the group, a proposed revision of which is presented in an appendix. After detailing the methods and materials used during the project, there is a description of the morphology of the group based on previously undescribed material, and some reinterpretations of known material. Much of the material is also figured for the first time. For simple reasons of geography, the descriptions centre on the European genera Rhizodus, Screbinodus and Strepsodus, although comparisons are made with material from elsewhere in the world (Sauripteris from the USA, Barameda and Gooloogongia from Australia and Notorhizodon from Antartica). The mandible of Rhizodus and the whole skull of Screbinodus are reconstructed for the first time. The morphological data are then used to analyse the phylogeny of the group using cladistic methodology. The interrelationships of the members of the Rhizodontida are analysed using an original data matrix, finding the topology [Gooloogongia + [Barameda + [Strepsodus + [Screbinodus + Rhizodus]]]]. The relationships of the group of lobe-finned fishes are analysed using modifications of a number of recently published data matrices, finding that the Rhizodontida are members of the Tetrapodamorph clade. In the final section, three methods of estimating the adult size of Rhizodus hibberti (probably the largest freshwater osteichthyian known) are considered and aspects of the functional morphology of the group are discussed. Finally, the distribution and extinction of the group is considered, using recent high-resolution palaeogeographic reconstructions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available