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Chondrichthyes or cartilaginous fishes are jawed fish of which the skeleton is mostly comprised of cartilage. Teeth, tooth plates or dermal denticles are the exception to this rule. On rare occasions, fossilized shark eggs have been found as well. (summary by Fisher et al 2013 - PDF, 4.8 MB)
This class is divided into three separate groups:
- Elasmobranchii: group containing extant sharks (amongst others)
- Batoida: group within the Elasmobranchii containing rays and guitarfish
- Chimaeriformes: group containing extant species such as ghost sharks, ratfish, spookfish and rabbitfish.
Fossilized teeth and tooth plates of cartilaginous fish
The fossil remnants of these animals are usually common in Paleogene and Neogene marine deposits. Locally, large quantities of teeth and dermal denticles can be found. Cartilage itself only fossilizes on rare occasions and under exceptional conditions. Partial skeletons, loose vertebrae and even rostra (nasal bones) have been found however.
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