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New miniature neopterygians from the Middle Triassic of Yunnan Province, South China

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Two new miniature (small to very small fishes being less than 4 cm in total length) neopterygians, Frodoichthys luopingensis gen. et sp. nov. and Gimlichthys dawaziensis gen. et sp. nov., from the vertebrate horizon in the upper member of the Guanling Formation (Anisian, Middle Triassic) near Dawazi village, Luoping County, Yunnan Province, South China, are described. A detailed comparison with the major clades of the Neopterygii and known miniature neopterygian incertae sedis well support the erection of these new taxa. Pending a sound phylogenetic analysis, we tentatively propose to place them as incertae sedis within Neopterygii with Frodoichthys gen. nov. being more similar to Prosantichthys and thus to the halecomorph order Panxianichthyformes and Gimlichthys gen. nov. being more similar to ginglimodians than to halecomorphs. The new taxa, together with previously recorded Anisian neoptergygians support the Anisian neopterygian radiation that possibly took place in the East Tethys earlier than previously suggested in the West Tethys. Thus, the new taxa are key forms for a better understanding of basal nodes within halecomorphs and ginglymodians.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2016

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