Northeastern (46th Annual) and North-Central (45th Annual) Joint Meeting (20–22 March 2011)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM


GRANDSTAFF, Barbara S., Department of Anatomy and Animal Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 3800 Spruce St, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6046, PARRIS, David C., Bureau of Natural History, New Jersey State Museum, Trenton, NJ 08625 and JOHNSON, Ralph O., Monmouth Amateur Paleontologist's Society, 57 Oceanport Ave, West Long Branch, NJ 07764,

The large Late Cretaceous fish Bonnerichthys gladius, now interpreted to have been a plankton feeder, would presumably have thrived in an area with access to open oceanic environments, such as the Atlantic coast. Two specimens, previously cited but not described in detail, tend to confirm this suggestion. The more enigmatic of the two is a fragmentary scapulocoracoid from the Campanian of New Castle County, Delaware. It is anatomically consistent for a referral to Bonnerichthys, to the extent that the scapulocoracoid is known, in both articulations and proportions. However, it is of relatively small size.

The more diagnostic specimen is a highly characteristic fin spine fragment from the Maastrichtian of Monmouth County, New Jersey. It may be geologically later than any other specimen of Bonnerichthys gladius thus far reported. This suggests persistent survival of such a highly pelagic plankton feeder in proximity to the open ocean. Presumably the species survived until the mass extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

  • Bonnerichthys gladius (Osteichthys) from the Cretaceous of the Atlantic coastal states.pdf (1.6 MB)