Boionautilus gen. nov. from the Silurian of Europe and North Africa (Nautiloidea, Tarphycerida)


Authors: Turek V

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 83, issue 2; pages: 141 - 152; Received 18 February 2008; Accepted in revised form 25 April 2008;

Keywords: Cephalopoda, Nautiloidea, Tarphycerida, new taxon, Silurian, Europe, North Africa,

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Tarphycerids of the suborder Barrandeocerina are striking owing to the large size of the shell and similarity with the recent Allonautilus Ward & Saunders, 1997. They are widely distributed in the Silurian rocks of Europe. They were originally classified within the genus Nautilus Linnaeus, 1758 but generic assignment remained questionable despite the detailed description and excellent illustration provided by Barrande in 1865. Species belonging to this group have been assigned to the genera Barrandeoceras Hyatt, 1884, Heracloceras Teichert, 1940, or Cumingsoceras Flower, 1950 but none of them is appropriate considering their morphology, phylogenetic trends and stratigraphic range. Therefore, a new genus Boionautilus is established here. An evolutionary trend is discerned, expressed especially in the tighter coiling of the shell - a transition from an evolute shell (gyroceracone at the beginning of the second whorl) with subelliptic cross section, to a slightly involute shell with a subtrapezoidal cross section. The dorsoventral diameter of the whorl increased more rapidly, and septa became more densely spaced. Boionautilus tyrannus (Barrande, 1865) is now known to occur in North Africa (Algeria, the Ougarta Range). Previously-mentioned finds in peri-Gondwanan sediments of the Carnic Alps are here rejected. Differences in the colour of septa and connecting rings in one exceptionally well-preserved specimen of this taxon from Algeria and one Bohemian specimen of B. sternbergi (Barrande, 1865) are remarkable and indicate high primary content of organic matter within the connecting rings.


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