Gosavisiphon gen. nov. based on Halimeda paucimedullaris SCHLAGINTWEIT &EBLI,1998:a remarkable macroalga(Udoteaceae?)from the Late Cretaceous of the Northern Calcareous Alps(Austria and Germany) with affinites to Late Paleozoic and Late Triassic phylloids

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Felix Schlagintweit


The new genus Gosavisiphon with the type-species Halimeda paucimedullaris SCHLAGINTWEIT & EBLI, 1998, tentatively referred to the Udoteaceae, is described from the Late Cretaceous (Middle/Late Cenomanian-Santonian) of the Branderfleck Formation and the Lower Gosau Subgroup of the Northern Calcareous Alps (Austria, Germany). It is a plurimillimetric to pluricentimetric marine, hard-substrate dwelling macroalga, with membraneous and partly fused plates and an internal siphonaceous construction but lacking a real medullary zone. Although some thallus details are still unknown, Gosavisiphon gen. nov. can, from a strictly morphological point of view, directly be compared with the Late Palaeozoic and Upper Triassic phylloid algae. Gosavisiphon gen. nov. is the first fossil record of a platy siphonal alga in the Cretaceous, since the Late Triassic Ivanovia triassica REID. The monotypic taxon is most probably endemic to the Northern Calcareous Alps where it dwelled in protected, terrestrially influenced lagoonal environments attaching to hard substrates, (metazoan skeletons, rudistid shells). Based on findings of the cylindrical Halimeda? aff. johnsoni PAL and another taxon described as Halimeda sp. with typically flattened ovate segments, some considerations on the segment-morphological phylogenetic evolution of Halimeda LAMOUROUX are provided. Halimeda species with discoidal-flattened segments, that can morphologically be compared with extant species, are not known prior to the Turonian. Forms possessing cylindrical segments date further back, but can not directly be compared morphologically with modern counterparts, thus placing doubts on the existence of long-lasting methusalemi species by uniting extant and fossil species, as proposed by both botanists and palaeontologists in recent times.


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