Pycnodont fishes (Actinopterygii, Pycnodontiformes) from the Upper Cretaceous (lower Turonian) Akrabou Formation of Asfla, Morocco

Samuel L. A. Cooper, David M. Martill

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The Upper Cretaceous (upper Cenomanian–middle Turonian) Akrabou Formation of Asfla, southeast Morocco is renowned for exceptionally preserved, often three-dimensional bony and cartilaginous fish fossils. Teleosts, rare holosteans and chondrichthyans are well known from the so-called ‘Goulmima ichthyological assemblage’, however pycnodonts (Actinopterygii, Pycnodontiformes) have received scant attention and remain undescribed until now. Five nominal species are recognised in the assemblage, including two new forms: Neomesturus asflaensis gen. et sp. nov. and Paranursallia cavini sp. nov. The Italian genus Polazzodus is reported in Morocco for the first time. Specimen taphonomy is examined in the context of substrate consistency and oxygenation of an outer shelf carbonate platform setting. Diversity and ecological disparity of the Goulmima assemblage is revised in regard to trophic partitioning with durophagy seemingly more diverse than previously recognised. Comparisons with other pycnodont-bearing horizons of similar age demonstrate strong faunal affinities between the Asfla pycnodonts and those in the western Tethys and South Atlantic.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104607
Number of pages20
JournalCretaceous Research
Early online date22 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Actinopterygii
  • Pycnodontiformes
  • Akrabou Formation
  • Upper Cretaceous
  • Turonian
  • Morocco


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