Diplacanthid acanthodians from the Aztec Siltstone (late Middle Devonian) of southern Victoria Land, Antarctica

Gavin C. Young*, Carole J. Burrow

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    One articulated and several partial, semi-articulated specimens of acanthodians were collected in 1970 from the freshwater deposits of the Aztec Siltstone (Middle Devonian; Givetian), Portal Mountain, southern Victoria Land, Antarctica, during a Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Expedition. The Portal Mountain fish fauna, preserved in a finely laminated, non-calcareous siltstone, includes acanthodians, palaeoniscoids, and bothriolepid placoderms. The articulated acanthodian specimens are the most complete fossil fish remains documented so far from the Aztec assemblage, which is the most diverse fossil vertebrate fauna known from Antarctica. They are described as a new taxon, Milesacanthus antarctica gen. et sp. nov., which is assigned to the family Diplacanthidae. Its fin spines show some similarities to spine fragments named Byssacanthoides debenhami from glacial moraine at Granite Harbour, Antarctica, and much larger spines named Antarctonchus glacialis from outcrops of the Aztec Siltstone in the Boomerang Range, southern Victoria Land. Both of these are reviewed, and retained as form taxa for isolated spines. Various isolated remains of fin spines and scales are described from Portal Mountain and Mount Crean (Lashly Range), and referred to Milesacanthus antarctica gen. et sp. nov. The histology of spines and scales is documented for the first time, and compared with acanthodian material from the Devonian of Australia and Europe. Distinctive fin spines from Mount Crean are provisionally assigned to Culmacanthus antarctica Young, 1989b. Several features on the most complete of the new fish specimens - in particular, the apparent lack of an enlarged cheek plate - suggest a revision of the diagnosis for the Diplacanthidae.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)23-43
    Number of pages21
    JournalFossils and Strata
    Issue number50
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004


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