New discovery of rhyncholites and conchorhynchs (cephalopod jaw elements) from the Upper Cretaceous Mount Laurel Formation of Delaware (American Museum novitates, no. 3998)

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American Museum of Natural History.
Rhyncholites and Conchorhynchs are the calcitic elements of upper and lower jaws of cephalopods, respectively. Rhyncholites and conchorhynchs occur in relatively high abundance and are widely distributed, with a long geological range, extending from the Triassic to the Miocene. While rhyncholites and conchorhynchs are relatively common in Europe, there are only a few reports from North America. Here, we document 24 specimens of rhyncholites and 12 specimens of conchorhynchs from the Upper Cretaceous Mount Laurel Formation in Delaware. The specimens were found in isolation and, thus, identifying the taxon to which the rhyncholites and conchorhynchs belong is difficult. However, the Cretaceous nautilid Eutrephoceras occurs in the same formation, suggesting that the rhyncholites and conchorhynchs may belong to this taxon. We performed a morphometric analysis of these structures based on linear measurements. Our results reveal that some morphological parameters in rhyncholites are correlated with size. Additionally, our specimens exhibit high intraspecific variation, which may have been overlooked in previous studies.
20 pages : illustrations (some color), map ; 26 cm.
Cephalopoda, Fossil -- Delaware., Cephalopoda, Fossil -- Morphology., Jaws., Paleontology -- Cretaceous.