Living Fossils pp 170-180 | Cite as


  • John G. Maisey
  • Katherine E. Wolfram
Part of the Casebooks in Earth Sciences book series (CASEBOOKS)


The old lithographic limestone quarries around Solnhofen, Bavaria, are perhaps best known for the beautiful Archaeopteryx fossils that have been found there. For us, however, the Solnhofen Limestone provides an intriguing glimpse of a Late Jurassic shark fauna that contains early representatives of several extant families, including horn-sharks (Heterodontidae), monk-fish (Squatinidae), carpet sharks (Orectolobiformes), dogfishes (Scyliorhinidae), primitive rays (batoids), and also hexanchoids (cow-sharks, “notidanids”). Any of these groups would be worth consideration here, since all of them include fossil species that are “anatomically very similar (bordering on identity)” to living species, as requested for this paper. Apart from the heterodontids, however, only the hexanchoids have been credited with the venerable and patriarchal status of “living fossil.”


Lateral Tooth Vertebral Centra Tooth Morphology Fossil Fish Living Fossil 
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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • John G. Maisey
    • 1
  • Katherine E. Wolfram
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Vertebrate PaleontologyAmerican Museum of Natural HistoryNew YorkUSA

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