Articles | Volume 21, issue 2
01 Dec 2002
 | 01 Dec 2002

Taphrognathus carinatus (Higgins & Varker) (Conodonta, Vertebrata) from the Lower Carboniferous of Belgium, and international correlation using taphrognathids

Mark A. Purnell, Peter H. Von Bitter, and Eric Groessens

Abstract. Lower Carboniferous conodont faunas from shallow shelf and more offshore settings have few taxa in common and correlation is difficult. Consequently, reports of shallow shelf taphrognathid conodonts and indications that the Taphrognathus transatlanticus Range Zone may be recognizable in Lower Carboniferous sequences in Belgium (Conil et al., 1991) are potentially significant for international correlation using conodonts. Here we present a review of the usefulness of taphrognathid conodonts in international correlation and a brief summary of the current state of their taxonomy. Taphrognathus transatlanticus von Bitter & Austin, 1984 cannot be accommodated within Taphrognathus Branson & Mehl, 1941 and, until a new genus is erected, it is best referred to as aff. Taphrognathus transatlanticus. The status of T. rhodesi as a distinct species is uncertain. The affinities of T. alaskensis are currently obscure, but we strongly doubt that it is a species of Taphrognathus. Regarding Belgian taphrognathids, examination of specimens from the collection reported by Conil et al. (1991) reveals that Taphrognathus carinatus (Higgins & Varker, 1982) is present. This extends the geographical range of T. carinatus beyond the UK, but we are unable to confirm the presence of aff T. transatlanticus in Belgium.