New Species of Nursallia, a Cretaceous Lebanese Pycnodont Fossil Fish

Nursallia sp. nov.

Pycnodontiformes, Pycnodontidae

Geologic Time: Middle Cretaceous, Cenomanian Stage (93 mya)

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): 30 mm long, 25 mm tall on a 60 mm by 60 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Lebanese Lagerstatt, en-Nammoura, Lebanon

Lebanese Pynodont Fossil FishKnown for its incredibly well-preserved fish and crustaceans, the sublithographic limestone of the Cretaceous of Lebanon also preserved incredible detail here as well in this newly-discovered Pynodont taxon known as Nursallia. The family derives its name from the Greek for “thick tooth”. These fish led a durophagous existence, crushing the shells of shellfish and crustaceans (note the teeth). The genus was erected in 1987 to house several fish that were previously assigned to Paleobalistum, a genus which now consists solely of the fish P. orbiculatum. The en-Nammoura location is quite different in its fauna from either Hajoula or Hakel. It is thought to have been slightly younger than either of those locations. Based upon a high level of preserved terrestrial plants, it is further thought to have been closer to land, albeit islands rather than the continental coastline. Fish are far more rare at en-Nammoura, with very few recorded multiple specimens found. The taxon is different from Nursallia goedeli from the nearby deposits of Hakel and Hajoula, and is thought to be a new species. As of 2003, only TWO other examples were known, both of which reside in the Natural History Mueum, London. This is a fine example of the preservation for which the region is famous, and would be a welcome addition to any collection of fish.

Also see: Paleobalistum goedeli

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l Paleontology & Fossils l Paleobiology and Geologic Timeline l
l Fossil Amber l Ammonite Fossils l Dinosaur and Reptile Fossils l Fossil Kits l
l Crinoids and Echinoderms l Fish Fossils l Fossil Dealers l Insect Fossils l Invertebrate Fossils l
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