Anew species of fossil polyplacophoran from the Danian (Lower Palaeocene) of Denmark is described from over 450 individual disarticulated plates. The polyplacophorans originate from the 'nose-chalk' in the classical Danish locality of Fakse Quarry, an unconsolidated coral limestone in which aragonitic mollusc shells are preserved through transformation into calcite. In plate architecture and sculpture, the new Danish material is similar to Recent Leptochiton spp., but differs in its underdeveloped apophyses and high dorsal elevation (height/width ca. 0.54). Cladistic analysis of 55 original shell characters coded for more than loo Recent and fossil species in the order Lepiclopleurida shows very high resolution of interspecific relationships, but does not consistently recover traditional genera or subgenera. Inter-relationships within the suborder Lepidopleurina are of particular interest as it is often considered the most 'basal' neoloricate lineage. In a local context, the presence of chitons in the faunal assemblage of Fakse contributes evidence of shallow depositional depth for at least some elements of this Palaeocene seabed, a well-studied formation of azooxanthellic coral limestones. This new record for Denmark represents a well-dated and ecologically well-understood fossil chiton with potential value for understanding the radiation of the Neotoricata.
ASJC Scopus subject areas