Review of the enigmatic Eocene shark genus Xiphodolamia (Chondrichthyes, Lamniformes) and description of a new species recovered from Angola, Iran and Jordan

Sylvain Adnet, R. Hosseinzadeh, Miguel Telles Antunes, Ausenda Cáceres Balbino, V. A. Kozlov, Henri Cappetta

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7 Citations (Scopus)


Little is known about the extinct Xiphodolamia, a peculiar lamnid shark which inhabited the Eocene seas. The reexamination of a large set of fossilized teeth specimens from the Ypresian of Kazakhstan has enabled the reconstitution of the tooth series of this enigmatic taxa of lamnid shark. Five distinct tooth morphologies seem to occur in X. ensis Leidy [Leidy, J., 1877. Description of vertebrate remains, chiefly from the phosphate beds of South Carolina. Journal of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 8, 209-261] species revealing a weak ontogenetic variation. Such specific variation in tooth shape means that the other described species may be their junior synonyms. Dental morphology perfectly conforms with a Lamniforme but does not prove the current attribution to the Lamnidae family due to some inconsistent dental features observed, such as the presence of symphysial teeth. This genus could be regarded as an old lineage branched from the stem group of Lamnidae, close to the Isuroids sharks. Several Xiphodolamia teeth, originating both from old collections and new acquisitions, are reported and illustrated in order to provide information about a new species described here: Xiphodolamia serrata nov. sp. This species, currently limited to deposits in Angola, Jordan and Iran and dated at the Late Eocene, is easily distinguishable from the Early-Middle Eocene material belonging to the genus by the presence of serrated cutting edges. Adding to the type species considered here as the only valid taxa during the Early-Middle Eocene period, the temporal range of this genus extends to the Late Eocene, thus setting its upper stratigraphic limit prior to its disappearance as enigmatic as its appearance in the Early Eocene was.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-204
Number of pages8
JournalJournal Of African Earth Sciences
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • African plate
  • Fossil shark
  • Late Eocene
  • New species
  • Palaeontology


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