Morphology of the braincase in the Cretaceous hybodont shark Tribodus limae (Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii), based on CT scanning. (American Museum novitates, no. 3681)
New York, NY : American Museum of Natural History.
The braincase of the Lower Cretaceous hybodont shark Tribodus limae is examined using high-resolution CT scanning, and its internal and external morphology is described based on three-dimensional digital reconstructions. This study represents the first in-depth examination of a hybodont braincase using CT scanning and digital imaging technology. The braincase of an additional Lower Cretaceous hybodont, Egertonodus basanus, is also digitally reconstructed and compared to Tribodus. A reconstruction of cranial nerves and blood vessels in Tribodus is presented on the basis of preserved foramina. The braincase of Tribodus shares many features with those of Egertonodus and neoselachians, providing further support for the sister-group relationship between hybodonts and extant elasmobranchs. CT scans confirm that in both Tribodus and Egertonodus the glossopharyngeal and vagus canals converge and exit from a common foramen (also found in Chlamydoselachus). In both of the hybodonts examined, the trochlear nerve exits the braincase anterior to the optic nerve, a possible hybodont synapomorphy. Separate foramina for the two rami of the octaval nerve are present in both Tribodus and Egertonodus, and may represent an additional hybodont synapomorphy. Also, both taxa have three separate foramina for the trigeminal, facial, and anterodorsal lateral line nerves, apparently including an individual foramen for the superficial ophthalmic complex. However, the basicranial arterial system in Tribodus differs considerably from that of Egertonodus in that in the former the internal carotid arteries enter the braincase much farther posteriorly and through paired foramina rather than a single median foramen. The median ventral basicranial process in Tribodus is similar in structure and position to median ventral processes seen in some extant neoselachians (e.g., Etmopterus) and in embryonic Torpedo (although in the latter this structure disappears during development), and thus may have had a similar ontogenetic origin.
70 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 26 cm. "March 4, 2010." Includes bibliographical references (p. 67-70).
Tribodus limae., Egertonodus basanus., Sharks, Fossil., Brazil., Cretaceous.