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Keywords:

  • Chondrichthyes;
  • enameloid;
  • Lochkovian;
  • Lower Devonian

Abstract

Previous studies on tooth enameloid microstructure in several chondrichthyan taxa spanning the phylogeny of the group provided support for the homology of chondrichthyan tooth enameloid. This hypothesis requires that a single crystallite enameloid (SCE) monolayer must be present in the teeth of the most primitive chondrichthyan. However, the dental microstructure of the earliest sharks has yet to be investigated. We have studied the tooth enameloid microstructure of the two oldest tooth-bearing shark species currently known, Leonodus carlsi Mader (1986) and Celtiberina maderi Wang (1993), from the lowermost Lochkovian (Lower Devonian) of Spain. Our study demonstrates the presence of a SCE monolayer in the teeth of both species. These results show that a superficial cap of SCE is present in the oldest shark teeth known, which suggest its presence in the most basal chondrichthyans.