Palaeocene Massamorichthys enters the LRT close to zebra fish

Revised April 28, 2021
with a slight shift of Massamorichthys closer to Danio, the tiny zebra fish, derived from mackerels.

Massamorichthys wilsoni (Murray 1996; up to 20cm; Paleocene) is a small extinct transitional taxa linking Scomberoides to more derived taxa, including Danio. It does not appear to be related to Percopsis Massamorichthys lacks a crest, a trait present in basal taxa. This fish is related to tuna (Thunnus) and mackerel (Scomber).

Does this mean
Massarmorichthys is chronologically correctly nested? In other words, are all the phylogenetic descendents younger than Massamorichthys? The answer is….No. Sphenocelphalus is a Late Cretaceous perch. Plectocretacicus is an early Late Cretaceous oarfish ancestor.

Massarmorichthys looks like your standard, plesiomorphic fish. It is. Don’t omit such taxa from your cladograms just because they are not weird, scary or gigantic. Here and elsewhere the plain and small taxa are important, too.

Murray AM 1996. A new Paleocene genus and species of percopsid, †Massamorichthys wilsoni (Paracanthopterygii) from Joffre Bridge, Alberta, Canada. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 16(4):642–652.

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