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Keywords:

  • conodont;
  • fused cluster;
  • Early Triassic;
  • South China;
  • Luolou Formation;
  • multielement taxonomy

Abstract:  Several fused clusters of conodont elements of the genera Neospathodus and Novispathodus were recovered from limestone beds at the Dienerian–Smithian and Smithian–Spathian boundaries, respectively, from several localities in Guangxi province, South China. Conodont clusters are otherwise extremely rare in the Triassic, and these are first described for the Early Triassic. The exceptional specimens partially preserve the relative three-dimensional position and orientation of ramiform elements and are therefore extremely important for testing hypotheses on the architecture of apparatuses. These specimens partly confirm the previous reconstruction of the Novispathodus apparatus by Orchard. Within apparatuses of members of superfamily Gondolelloidea, elements previously identified as occupying the S1 and S2 positions instead occupy the S2 and S1 positions. Similarly, within apparatuses of members of the subfamily Novispathodinae, elements previously referred to S3 and S4 positions are reinterpreted to have occupied S4 and S3 positions, respectively.