Scythes, sickles and other blades: defining the diversity of pectoral fin morphotypes in Pachycormiformes - NMS Research Repository
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Journal article

Scythes, sickles and other blades: defining the diversity of pectoral fin morphotypes in Pachycormiformes

7 November 2019

Abstract

The traditional terminology of ‘scythe’ or ‘sickle’ shaped is observed to be flawed as an effective descriptor for pectoral fin shape in pachycormids. The diversity of pachycormid pectoral fin shapes is assessed across the 14 recognised genera that preserve complete pectoral fins, and improved terms are defined to more effectively describe their form, supported by anatomical observation and aspect ratio analysis of individual fins, and corroborated by landmark analysis. Three clear and distinct pectoral fin structural morphotypes emerge (falceform, gladiform, falcataform), reflecting a diversity of pachycormid lifestyles throughout the Mesozoic, from agile pursuit predator to slow-cruising suspension feeder.

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