• Actinopterygii;
  • Blue Anchor Formation;
  • Choristodera;
  • Dinosauria;
  • Dipnoi;
  • Haramyidae;
  • Holocephali;
  • Hybodonfiformes;
  • Ichthyosauria;
  • Lilstock Formation;
  • Palaeonisciformes;
  • Penarth Group;
  • Plesiosauria;
  • Selachii;
  • Westbury Formation

Rhaetian fossil vertebrate faunas of Britain represent rich but biased samples of taxonomic diversity during uppermost Triassic time. Review of the Westbury Formation, Penarth Group, in particular, reveals a combination of marine, littoral, and terrestrial elements. Minimally, six species of shark are preserved along with a myriacanthid holocephalan, at least four actinopterygian taxa, a characteristic lungfish, ichthyosaurs, plesiosaurs, dinosaurs, and potentially the earliest representative of the Choristodera. Rare mammalian occurrences in the Westbury beds are also possible. Severnichthys gen. nov. is a large osteichthyan, probably a palaeonisciform chondrostean, which historically has been mistaken for a labyrinthodont amphibian. At least two additional actinopterygian species and a holocephalan are known from die Lilstock Formation, and a mammal or mammallike reptile is recorded from the uppermost Blue Anchor Formation. Analysis of element abundance in the disarticulated Westbury Formation assemblage indicates that many parts of some taxa are never preserved while other elements of the same form are common. Such preservational bias suggests that many species may be missing entirely from this long-studied but poorly understood taphocoenosis. Possibly contemporaneous cave faunas from nearby upland areas give a similarly biased picture of the terrestrial fauna during this time of widespread marine transgression.