A spathognathodont lineage of Mississippian conodonts



Evolutionary lineages of conodont elements and of some apparatuses are gradually being documented to increase the value of these fossils in stratigraphic interpretation and to further our understanding of conodont taxonomy. The well-documented faunas from Mississippian strata of the Illinois Basin and type Mississippian beds provide a great deal of information for the recognition of phylogenies. The disjunct element genus Spathognathodus is part of a basic and long-ranging type of conodont apparatus from which a number of other forms have been derived, and some of its Mississippian disjunct element species can now be placed in multielement species. A lineage involving spathognathodont Pa elements recognized in the Mississippian, then, is the basis of the present study. The phylogeny recognized started with Synprioniodina? crassidentata, and includes S.? regularis, S.? pulchra, S.? coalescens, S.? spicula, Hinduodus cristula, and H. minutus in the Mississippian. Aputiignathus scitulus and A. penrscitulus apparently represent a separate line, which also might include disjunct element Spathognathodus rexroadi.