New leuciscin fish found in northern China

Jun 02, 2011
Fig1: Holotype of Tianshanicus liui gen. et sp. nov., left side view (IVPP V 12172.1A) Credit: SU De-Zao

SU De-Zao, a retired paleoichthyologist of Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, found a new paleogene leuciscin fish, Tianshanicus liui sp. nov., in the Anjihaihe Formation in the Manas County in northern Xinjiang, as reported in the latest issue of Vertebrata PalAsiatic 2011(2), providing new materials for studying the origin, evolution, and interrelationships within the Cyprinidae. According to the nature of the fish-fauna and mammal fossils, the age of the fish-bearing beds is considered to be late Eocene, roughly 42 million years ago.

Cyprinidae is the largest family of , including subfamily Leuciscinae and several other subfamilies, occurring widely in Eurasia, Africa and North America. About 210 genera and 532 species and living cyprinids have been recorded in China, and more than 28 genera and 34 species of fossil cyprinids have been reported from Tertiary sediments in China. The earliest definite fossil cypriniforms (cyprinid and catostomid) are of Eocene age from China, but very few cyprinid fossils have been found in deposits earlier than Miocene.
Tianshanicus shows typical characters of the subfamily Leuciscinae, such as the anal fin with more than seven branched rays, body elongate-fusiform, mouth terminal, dorsal and anal fins without osseous spine, and the origin of the dorsal fin slightly behind that of the pelvic. It differs from other genera in the subfamily in the following characters: frontal broad anteriorly and narrow posteriorly, with greatly expanded postorbital process; parietal long, rectangular; sphenotic very large, arched; upper part of operculum as wide as lower one, roughly rectangular; dentary with low coronoid process; upper limb of preoperculum long, almost vertical; six hypurals, four of them upper hypurals; caudal fin with 19 principal rays and rounded upper and lower lobs.

Although fossil cypriniforms are represented most in Asia, the study has been largely neglected in , owing to the poor preservation of most specimens and their limited significance to the high-level systematics. “The origin, evolution, and interrelationships within the Cyprinidae are still uncertain, mainly due to scarce information on fossil members of the group as well as of many extant Asiatic species”, said SU, “Tianshanicus liui shows typical characters of the subfamily Leuciscinae, and is of great interest for studying the origin of the Leuciscinae.”

Explore further: New instrument dates old skeleton—'Little Foot' 3.67 million years old

Related Stories

Oldest-known black carp found in Mongolian plateau

Jun 23, 2010

Dr. Pingfu Chen, Institute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Dr. Gloria Arratia at the Biodiversity Research Center of the University of Kansas, described an ...

New Eosauropterygian found in Eastern Yunnan, China

Jun 01, 2011

The marine Triassic deposits in southwestern China have yielded numerous vertebrate fossils (ichthyosaurians, sauropterygians, thalattosaurians, and fishes). A new eosauropterygian, Diandongosaurus acutidentatus ...

Chinese report important fish fossil find

May 05, 2006

Chinese researchers say a newly discovered fish species that lived more than 400 million years ago may represent a bridge between two vertebrate lineages.

How fish swim: Imaging device shows contribution of fins

Apr 22, 2011

There are fish tales and then there are fish tails. And a report from Harvard researchers in the current issue of the journal Biology Letters seems to demonstrate that previous theories about how bony fish mo ...

Earliest toothless bird found

Dec 10, 2009

( -- A new species of bird from the Cretaceous period in China has been identified. It had toothless upper and lower jaws, and provides significant information on the diversification in the evolution ...

Recommended for you

100-million-year-old scale insect practiced brood care

4 hours ago

Scientists at the University of Bonn, together with colleagues from China, UK and Poland, have described the oldest evidence of brood care in insects: it is in a female scale insect with her young that is encased in amber ...

Discovering missing body parts of ancient fossils

21 hours ago

Certain specimens of the fossil Dickinsonia are incomplete because ancient currents lifted them from the sea floor, a team of researchers led by paleontologists at the University of California, Riverside has fo ...

Discovery of two new species of primitive fishes

Mar 31, 2015

Working with an international team, paleontologists at the University of Zurich have discovered two new species of Saurichthys. The ~242 million year old predatory fishes were found in the fossil Lagerstätte ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.