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Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015 : A New Coelacanth Fish Fossil Species from Lebanon

ماكروبوما ليبانوس خلف ، 2015 : نوع جديد لأحفورة سمكة الجُمبيزة (سيلاكانث) من لبنان

By: Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa

Reference: 

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2015). † Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015 : A New Coelacanth Fish Fossil Species from Lebanon. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. ISSN 0178 - 6288. Number 122, February 2015. pp. 12–27. Dubai and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://animals-of-lebanon.webs.com/

The new Roundhead-Roundtail Lebanon Coelacanth fossil species † Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015 from Lebanon. http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEBANON-LEBANESE-ULTRA-RARE-COELACANTH-FISH-FOSSIL-LIBANON-LIBAN-/130975206209 & https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16252872258/

Abstract: A new fossil species of Coelacanth Fish from the Upper Cretaceous (Middle Cenomanian) of the genus Macropoma (Class Sarcopterygii, Subclass Crossopterygii, Order Coelacanthiformes, Suborder Latimerioidei, Family Latimeriidae) was found in the Limestone of Haqel (Hakel) and Hajula, Lebanon. The new fossil species is distinguished from the four different Macropoma species : Macropoma lewesiensis Agassiz, 1835; † Macropoma mantelli Agassiz, 1843; † Macropoma speciosum Reuss, 1857 and † Macropoma willemoesii Vetter, 1881 by its slightly different skeletal, skull and fin features. It is morphologically a distinct species. The new species was named Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015.

The new Roundhead-Roundtail Lebanon Coelacanth fossil species † Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015 from Lebanon. http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEBANON-LEBANESE-ULTRA-RARE-COELACANTH-FISH-FOSSIL-LIBANON-LIBAN-/130975206209 & https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/15837802323/

Keywords: Sarcopterygii, Coelacanthiformes, Latirmeriidae, Macropoma libanus, Coelacanth, Lebanon Coelacanth, Roundhead Roundtail Lebanon Coelacanth, Fossil, New species, Upper Cretaceous, Middle Cenomanian, Haqel, Hakel, Hajula, Lebanon, Near East, Middle East.

The new Roundhead-Roundtail Lebanon Coelacanth fossil species † Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015 from Lebanon. http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEBANON-LEBANESE-ULTRA-RARE-COELACANTH-FISH-FOSSIL-LIBANON-LIBAN-/130975206209 & https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16271983607/

Introduction 


When I was writing some articles about the Coelacanth Fishes, I noticed that there were some Lebanese Coelacanth fish fossil specimens for sale on the internet and other specimens were in Museums or Private Collections.


One coelacanth fish fossil specimen was for sale on eBay. It looked peculiar. It was from the Upper Cretaceous (Middle Cenomanian) Limestone in Haqel (Hakel) and Hajula, Lebanon. This specimen was examined and measured. The total length was 8.00 cm.


The new fossil species is distinguished from the four different Macropoma species: † Macropoma lewesiensis Agassiz, 1835; † Macropoma mantelli Agassiz, 1843; † Macropoma speciosum Reuss, 1857 and † Macropoma willemoesii Vetter, 1881 by its slightly different skeletal, skull and fin features. It is morphologically a distinct species. The new species was named Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015.

The new Roundhead-Roundtail Lebanon Coelacanth fossil species † Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015 from Lebanon. http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEBANON-LEBANESE-ULTRA-RARE-COELACANTH-FISH-FOSSIL-LIBANON-LIBAN-/130975206209 & https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16438615676/

Genus Macropoma


Macropoma (meaning big apple or large fruit in Greek) is an extinct genus of coelacanth in the class Sarcopterygii. These fishes have apparently been extinct for over 70 million years and are most closely related to the modern coelacanth Latimeria (Wikipedia).


Fossils of Macropoma have been found in both England and Czechoslovakia. The presently described fossil comes from Lebanon. Recorded fossils have bodies less than two feet in length. A modern coelacanth measures five or more, but in other respects the two genera are remarkably similar, and share the same body plan with a three-lobed tail and stalked fins (Wikipedia).


Macropoma grew to a length of 22 inches (55 centimeters) and would have preyed upon smaller aquatic species (Wikipedia).

The new Roundhead-Roundtail Lebanon Coelacanth fossil species † Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015 from Lebanon. http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEBANON-LEBANESE-ULTRA-RARE-COELACANTH-FISH-FOSSIL-LIBANON-LIBAN-/130975206209 & https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16462919021/

Measurements of the Roundhead-Roundtail Lebanon Coelacanth Fossil Holotype


Total length: 8.00 cm; Head from mouth tip to gill cover: 1.75 cm; Tail length: 2.58 cm; Head width at the gill cover: 2.16 cm; Body width in the middle (dorsal-ventral): 2.33 cm, tail base width: 1.66 cm; Anterior dorsal fin: 1.75 cm; Posterior dorsal fin: 1.50 cm; Pectoral fin: 1.66 cm; Tail rays: 2.58 cm.

Etymology / Derivation of the Scientific Name


The genus name Macropoma in Greek means “big apple” or “large fruit” which refers to the big sized head and tail of the Genus Macropoma. The species name libanus refers to “Lebanon” in Greek where the new species was discovered.

The new Roundhead-Roundtail Lebanon Coelacanth fossil species † Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015 from Lebanon. http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEBANON-LEBANESE-ULTRA-RARE-COELACANTH-FISH-FOSSIL-LIBANON-LIBAN-/130975206209 & https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/16278810607/

Conclusion:


After studying the Macropoma fish fossil specimen from Haqel (Hakel) and Hajula, Lebanon and comparing with the four different Macropoma species : Macropoma lewesiensis Agassiz, 1835; † Macropoma mantelli Agassiz, 1843; † Macropoma speciosum Reuss, 1857 and † Macropoma willemoesii Vetter, 1881 and referring to many zoological references, and searching the Internet, I came finally to a conclusion that we are in front of a new Coelacanth fossil species.


I gave it the scientific name Macropoma libanus, new fossil species. The species name “libanus” is for Lebanon, from where the fossil specimen was found.


Macropoma libanus, new fossil species:


Scientific Binomial name: Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015.


Authority: Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Khalaf-von Jaffa.


Common Name: Roundhead-Roundtail Lebanon Coelacanth, Lebanon Coelacanth


Holotype Fossil: ML-1, eBay specimen.


Origin: Haqel (Hakel) and Hajula, Lebanon.

The new Roundhead-Roundtail Lebanon Coelacanth fossil species † Macropoma libanus Khalaf, 2015 from Lebanon. http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEBANON-LEBANESE-ULTRA-RARE-COELACANTH-FISH-FOSSIL-LIBANON-LIBAN-/130975206209 & https://www.flickr.com/photos/50022881[email protected]/16462983431/

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Wikipedia. Indonesian Coelacanth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indonesian_coelacanth 

Wikipidia. Macropoma. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macropoma 

Wikipedia. Macropomoides. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macropomoides 

Wikipedia. West Indian Ocean Coelacanth. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Indian_Ocean_coelacanth 

Woodward, A. S. (1942). Some new and little-known Upper Cretaceous Fishes from Mount Lebanon: The Annals and Magazine of Natural History, (eleventh series), n. 56, p. 537-648. 

Yahya, Harun. Atlas of Creation – Volume 3 – Fossil Specimens of Marine Creatures 2 – Coelacanth from Lebanon. http://harunyahya.com/en/Books/4632/atlas-of-creation--/chapter/4495 

Yahya, Harun. Coelacanth Fossils – Pictures of Fossils. http://en.harunyahya.net/coelacanth-fossils-pictures-of-fossils/

Illustration from the previous page: Comparison of extant and selected extinct actinistians, commonly known as coelacanths. A phylogeny of Actinistia; schematic sketches of body outlines and approximate body length (given in metre) illustrate the morphological diversity of extinct coelacanths: some had a short, round body (Hadronector), some had a long, slender body (Rebellatrix), some were eel-like (Holopterygius) whereas others resembled trout (Rhabdoderma), or even piranha (Allenypterus). Note that the body shape of Latimeria chalumnae differs significantly from that of its closest relative, Macropoma lewesiensis. http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/04/20/coelacanths-are-unexceptional-products-of-evolution/