Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

The Middle Triassic scleractinia-like coral Furcophyllia from the Pamir Mountains

Galina K. Melnikova and Ewa Roniewicz

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 52 (2), 2007: 401-406

Furcophyllia is an unusual coral with septa regularly splitting into branching sets called septal brooms. This pattern of septal apparatus is so alien to scleractinians, that, despite a trabecular microstructure of septa resembling that of the Scleractinia, the genus was originally ascribed to a rare group of corals informally referred to as sleractiniamorphs, previously known from the Ordovician and Permian. Genus Furcophyllia emerged together with corals of several groups, after the post-Permian crisis diversification of skeletonized anthozoans, some of them markedly differing in their skeletal features from typical Scleractinia. So far, the genus was represented by middle Carnian Furcophyllia septafindens from the Dolomites, in the Southern Alps. Here, we report Furcophyllia shaitanica sp. nov. from limestone boulders found in the volcano-clastic deposits of the upper Ladinian Šajtan suite of the South Eastern Pamirs. A new species of Furcophyllia signifies that the genus was a faunal element widely distributed in the Tethys.

Key words: Anthozoa, scleractinia-like corals, Triassic, Pamirs, Alps, Republic of Tajikistan, Italy.

Galina K. Melnikova, Geological Institute, Akademy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan, Aini 267, 734063 Dushanbe, Republic of Tajikistan; Ewa Roniewicz, Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Twarda 51/55, PL-00-818 Warszawa, Poland.

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