COELACANTHID IN ISRAEL'S EARLY MIOCENE? LATIMERIA TESTS SCHAEFFER'S THEORY.
- COELACANTHID IN ISRAEL'S EARLY MIOCENE? LATIMERIA TESTS SCHAEFFER'S THEORY.
GOLDSMITH, Naomi F.; YANAI-INBAR, Ilana, Blaustein Institute and Pathology Department, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, P.O.B. 653, Beer-Sheva 84105, ISRAEL.
Using Latimeria chalumnae as reference for the fish fossils found at Anthracothere Hill in the Negev (south) of Israel, we test B. Schaeffer's 1977 theorem "Differences in the histology and gross form of the teeth, dermal skull elements, scales and fin components obviously have systematic significance. If we are concerned with extinct animals, we can compare directly only structure in attempting to infer relationships."
The corollaries we infer are: 1) If there are no differences, it is likely we are dealing with an identity, or at best a similarity of incertae sedes... 2) Furthermore, if Latimeria appears in the 20th century off the east African coast after a 70 Ma absence, it had to have been somewhere. Intervening coelacanthid specimens in Africa are found in Madagascar's Trias (Moore 1995), Niger's E. Cretaceous (Wenz 1975) and the Negev Miocene. The North African sites were bound by the Tethys Ocean; both also sheltered Lates (Gayet et al.1983; N.F. Goldsmith et a1.1982). But the major transport mechanism, as geophysicists Molnar, Royer, and Dyment agree, was by the northward bound India Plate and the opening of the Red Sea at Aden.
Further tests compare Negev fossils with teeth and bones in the first Latimeria dissection (Millot, Anthony 1958) and teeth of preserved Latimeria at the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, and the Museums of Natural History in Stockholm, Washington, New York, London and Paris.
Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analyses replicate the results of Boyde (1972), Meinke (1982), and Smith (1978); the bone shows sensory canals as demonstrated by Wenz (1975). Q.E.D.
Article Reference: Goldsmith, N. F. & Yanai-Inbar, I. (1997). Coelacanthid in Israel's Early Miocene? Latimeria tests Schaeffer's theory. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Volume 17, Supplement to number 3, September 1997, p. 49A. Abstracts of Papers: Fifty-Seventh Annual Meeting, Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, The Ramada Congress Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, October 8-11, 1997, Sponsored by the Field Museum.