Elasmobranch fossils recovered from the Fishburne Formation (lower Eocene/Ypresian) of Berkeley County, South Carolina, USA, include species from four genera of sharks and six genera of rays. Of particular interest was the recovery of multiple isolated teeth from a new genus and species of the cownosed ray family Rhinopteridae, which is the focus of this study. The unique crown morphology separates this genus and species from Rhinoptera. Eorhinoptera grabdai, gen. et sp. nov., is represented by small, bar-shaped teeth in the shape of greatly elongated hexagons. These teeth are the isolated elements of a dental plate. The holotype, with 12 wide root lobes, is the most elongated in the sample being 1 cm long and 1.5 mm wide, indicating an origin in the central region of the plate. Paratypes are less elongated, have 4-8 root lobes and are from more lateral rows. The crown is smooth and has a distinctly convex occlusal surface. Eorhinoptera is only the second genus of cow-nosed ray. Its distinctive crown morphology may have allowed it to exploit different kinds of prey than those favoured by rays that lacked convex tooth crowns.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)