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Putting out a call for oplegnathids...


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What the heck is an oplegnathid? I had the same question just over a week ago. Now, it's my new obsession. :P Oplegnathids have teeth that look remarkably similar (convergent evolution) to the teeth of parrotfish while the fish themselves look nothing like parrotfish. They feed on barnacles and mollusks with their fused teeth while parrotfish scrape algae from coral or rocky substrates.

 

https://www.google.com/search?q=oplegnathus

 

 

While helping a researcher (Lazaro) here at the FLMNH to try to locate additional scarid (parrotfish) specimens as comparative material for a paper he is writing, I remembered @Fin Lover winning the VFOTM contest back in 2023 with an unusual "parrotfish beak":

 

https://www.thefossilforum.com/topic/129777-winner-of-the-january-2023-vertebrate-fossil-of-the-month/

 

When I showed the image of this specimen to Lazaro he was intrigued. This was not another scarid specimen to help him with his paper that he was working on but instead was the spark for the idea for a new paper. Seems oplegnathid fossils are not well known in the scientific literature and the author of the scant few papers that do exist is eager to collaborate on a paper about the new specimens that have turned up from South Carolina.

 

Fin Lover has graciously donated her specimens to the FLMNH for study. I've quickly imaged those photographically (see below) and these specimens are going to be 3D imaged in more detail today. The digital imaging department of the FLMNH is having the specimens scanned in the university's micro-CT scanner. We'll be able to rotate the images in 3D, zoom in to see details and examine the tooth structure internally (something that cannot be done with photogrammetry).

 

I'm currently working with another TFF member to secure some additional specimens for study and imaging. It seems there might possibly be more of these in the collections of members of this forum, so I'm putting out the call for anybody who has similar specimens or knows of another collector in the area who might. This is another case where the avocational paleontologists may have known (for some time) about a type of fossil that has flown under the radar of the professionals. We're working on plugging this hole in the fossil record by writing a short paper introducing South Carolina as a novel locality for fossil oplegnathid material. I'd love to learn of any more specimens to strengthen the collaboration between the amateurs and the professionals. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

Oplegnathus.png

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Thanks for this!!!

I've had one of these sitting around for several years and had no idea what it is. I'll try and find it, if I haven't already donated it to CMM.

 

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37 minutes ago, sharkdoctor said:

Thanks for this!!!

I've had one of these sitting around for several years and had no idea what it is. I'll try and find it, if I haven't already donated it to CMM.

 

Awesome!

 

:fingerscrossed:

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

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