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Papers of note
Luk_evi_s E. 1999. Stratigraphic occurrence
of vertebrate remains in the Upper Devonian
of Severnaya Zemlya (Russia). Acta
Geologica Polonica49(2):125-131.

Paper in press
Esin D., Ginter M., Ivanov A., Lebedev O.,
Luk_evi_s E., Avkhimovich V., Golubtsov V.
& Petukhova L. Vertebrate correlation of
the Upper Devonian and Lower
Carboniferous on the East European
Platform. Courier Forschungs-Institut
Kurshs V., Luk_evi_s E., Upeniece I., &
Zupins I. (In press). Late Devonian marine
deltaic clastics and associated fish remains
in Lode quarry (Latvia). Latvijas Geologijas
Luk_evi_s E., & Sorokin V. (In press). New
species of placoderm fish Bothriolepis
(Placodermi, Antiarcha) from the Upper
Devonian of North Timan.
Paleontologicheskiy Zhurnal. [In Russian]

stethacanthids Damoclesand Falcatus, and thus that the holocephalans are sister taxa of those two but not the other stethacanthid cladodonts. This result is singularly difficult to accept.
Hans-Peter Schultze presented a paper on Dialipina, which has rhombic ganoid peg-and socket scales, submandibulars, the skull arrangement of something non- actinopterygian, the body of an onychodontid, the fins of an onychodontid, the tail of an onychodontid, and claimed that it was a stem group actinopterygian. C'est possible.
Mark Wilson did his usual brilliant, understated, and simple, thing, presenting startling new animals with startling new information, that unsettled me and gave me lots to think about. BUT, and this is directed at all of us, he took two essentially identical species of fish and claimed that one is a chondrichthyan and one an acanthodian, on the basis of the scales. Sorry, there is something fundamentally missing from our information about the development and distribution of scales if this result could have emerged. It is material such as Mark's, plus modern developmental studies, that will unlock the secret of stem-group gnathostomes.
Psarolepisis an interesting fish, like the proverbial camel (built by a committee). Much was presented to think about here. The authors are confident that the bits and pieces all belong to the same animal, and so I have to tentatively accept this. But I believe the cladistics every bit as much as Xiaobo does. That, incidentally, may not be saying an awful lot, as he demonstrated in his talk on playing strategies for the cladistics computer game.
Meanwhile, having reexamined the Helodusspecimens that Moy-Thomas used, Dr. E.D. Grogan and I presented two poster sessions, one on the already published embryological analysis of Callorhinchusjaws and skull, the other on Helodusand a raft of new paraselachians that conform, in fundamental ways, with the skull plan of Helodus. Moy-Thomas' original study did not fare too badly here. However, the ethmoid of Helodusis completely roofed over, with excellent ethmoid canals, and there are very large and long tooth-bearing adsymphysials, upon which the 'Diclitodus'teeth are borne. And no, there are no tooth plates in those specimens; none at all, just families of Helodusteeth. And, as Moy-Thomas noted (and Barbara Stahl), there is no synarcuum. So here Eileen Grogan and I are with the Paraselachii, a group name I coined long ago in an ill-advised moment of desperation and have tried to ignore ever since, but it is now filling up with fascinating fish, with fascinating arrangements of heterodont teeth. Watch the Journal of Morphology in the new year for the first of these fish.
The Barbara Stahl Holocephalan volume (Handbook Vol. 4, F. Pfeil, Munich) is now out, and she has done a masterful job on all those isolated teeth and tooth plates. I do

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London, shark teeth and stuff

I managed to get to the latest London conference (NHM, April 1999). What I have to say is not necessarily a proper report in the strict sense of the word, but my impressions of the highlights of the meetings, which were extremely stimulating and very successful. I do urge the conveners to assemble more meetings of the disciplines of molecular, developmental, and paleontological folks.
The molecular geneticists run into severe and understandable problems when they try to deal with 3-4 extant species and a large number of extinct taxa. They might as well use an ouija board; there are far too many pieces of the puzzle missing. Oh yes, and many have this wonderful habit of using one, just one, teleost, amphibian, reptile, bird, and mammal. The topology of the branches of a tree provides vital information; without this information one just gets a Hennig's Ladder, which is not at all informative. It certainly does not work well with a problem like the agnathan-gnathostome transition. By contrast, the lamprey head is yielding marvellous and useful information to the developmental people. It is turning out to be just about exactly like a gnathostome in all the early stages that matter. This definitely puts lampreys very close to the gnathostomes. There was some elegant developmental work presented by several Japanese colleagues and some of Andrew Lumsden's students as well.
Michael Coates presented a paper claiming that the holocephalans originated from between the sister species of the