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Late Jurassic jaw bones of Halecomorph fish (Actinopterygii: Halecomorphi) studied with X-ray microcomputed tomography

Błażej Błażejowski, Paul Lambers, Piotr Gieszcz, Daniel Tyborowski, and Marcin Binkowski

Plain Language Abstract

We present the recently discovered two jaw bones of Jurassic halecomorph fish studied in details with X-ray microcomputed tomography (XMT) – a method allowing for three-dimensional imaging of investigated fossils within the rock without the risk of damage during preparation. Creation of virtual cross-sections and precise volumetric measurements based on digital tomography data makes it possible to study and describe rare specimens at levels unattainable with traditional methods. The specimens came from a new paleontological site, Owadów-Brzezinki, located in central Poland, so geological and paleontological settings of the site are given in brief.

Resumen en Español

Huesos de la mandíbula de peces halecomorfos (Actinopterygii: Halecomorphi) del Jurásico tardío estudiados con tomografía microcomputarizada por rayos X

Se han investigado nuevos hallazgos de restos de peces Halecomorphi en calizas del Jurásico tardío de Owadów-Brzezinki (Polonia) mediante tomografía microcomputarizada por rayos X (XMT) lo que ha revelado detalles de los huesos de la mandíbula para histología de peces actinopterigios. La reconstrucción tridimensional (3-D) permite la correcta verificación taxonómica. La posibilidad de la impresión 3-D da la oportunidad de trabajar con un modelo en cualquier escala deseada sin riesgo de dañar la muestra.

Palabras clave: peces halecomorfos; Jurásico tardío; tomografía microcomputarizada por rayos X (XMT)

Traducción: Enrique Peñalver

Résumé en Français

Étude par tomodensitométrie des os des mâchoires de poissons halécomorphes (Actinopterygii : Halecomorphi) du Jurassique récent

De nouveaux restes de poissons Halecomorphi découverts dans les calcaires du Jurassique récent d'Owadów-Brzezinki (Pologne) sont étudiés par micro-tomodensitométrie (μTMD), révélant les détails des os des mâchoires nécessaires dans l'optique d'une étude de l'histologie des poissons actinoptérygiens. La reconstruction tridimensionnelle (3D) permet de vérifier que les identifications taxonomiques sont correctes. L'impression 3D permet de travailler sur un modèle quelle que soit l'échelle désirée, et ce, sans risquer d'endommager le spécimen.

Mots-clés : poissons halécomorphes ; Jurassique récent ; micro-tomodensitométrie (μTMD)

Translator: Antoine Souron

Deutsche Zusammenfassung

Spätjurassische Kieferknochen halecomorpher Fische (Actinopterygii: Halecomorphi) untersucht mit Röntgen-Mikro-Computertomographie

Neue Funde halecomorpher Fische aus den spätjurassischen Kalken von Owadów-Brzezinki (Polen), die mit Röntgen-Mikro-Computertomographie untersucht wurden, zeigen Details der Kieferknochen-Histologie von Actinopterygiern. Dreidimensionale (3D) Rekonstruktion erlaubt eine korrekte taxonomische Verifizierung. Die Option des 3D-Drucks eröffnet die Möglichkeit mit einem Modell beliebigen Maßstabs zu arbeiten ohne einen Schaden am Stück zu riskieren.

Schlüsselwörter: Halecomorphe Fische; später Jura; Röntgen-Mikro-Computertomographie

Translator: Eva Gebauer


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Translator: Ashraf M.T. Elewa



authorBłażej Błażejowski. Institute of Paleobiology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00-818 Warszawa, Poland. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Research projects and expeditions
• 2013-2016 Leader of a grant from National Science Centre: Life in the Late Jurassic sea and sea shore: new Solnhofen-type taphonomic window in Sławno (central Poland)
• 2010 participation in Norwegian Polar Expedition
• 2006/2007 participation in Polska Ekspedycja Arktyczno-Antarktyczna, field work in Antarctic (King George Island), research topics: paleontology and sedimentology
• 2005 participation in Polska Ekspedycja Arktyczno-Antarktyczna, field work in Spitsbergen, research topics: paleontology and sedimentology
• 2004 participation in FMARS, field work in Canadian Arctic (Devon Island).
• 2002 co-organizer and participant of University of Warsaw students expedition, field work in Scotland and Western Hebrides
• 2002 co-organizer and participant of expedition to Spitsbergen
• 2000 co-organizer and participant of expedition to Mongolia

Research interests
• Methodology of reconstructing evolution from fossils and its paleontological record at the population level. Systematics, evolution, and biostratigraphy of Late Paleozoic foraminifera.
• Palaeoenvironment and taphonomy of a Late Jurassic (Late Tithonian) Lagerstätte from central Poland.
• End-Permian mass extinction. The Permian-Triassic crisis and multi-episode extinction around the P-T boundary.
• Isotopic composition of fossil marine vertebrate teeth.
• Climate Change in the Arctic and Antarctic.


lambersPaul Lambers. Universiteitsmuseum Utrecht, Lange Nieuwstraat 106, 3512 PN Utrecht, The Netherlands, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Curator of natural history at Universiteitsmuseum Utrecht


gieszczPiotr Gieszcz. Independent Center for Advanced Research, Stawki 4c/10, 00-193 Warszawa, Poland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

M.Sc. in climatology and environmental protection at Warsaw University, after graduating worked as a technical manager at ILAC-certified laboratory of environmental chemistry, currently finishing his Ph.D. dissertation. Having a good training in geology and paleontology involved in research at the Owadów-Brzezinki site since first discoveries (2011). Analytical thinking, professional skills in isotope analysis and digital data processing are strengths that make substantial contribution to the team work in this and other projects. His field experience ranges from Mongolian and Chinese deserts to icy fields of Spitsbergen.

Interdisciplinary areas of scientific interest cover:

climatology, paleoecology and paleogeography,
isotope geochemistry,
nonlinear and spectral time-sequence data analysis and modeling,
genetic algorithms, cybernetics,
and various aspects of evolutionary biology.


tyborowskiDaniel Tyborowski. Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences,Wilcza 64, 00-679 Warszawa, Poland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Daniel Tyborowski had his master degree in geology. In 2014 he started his Ph.D. at the Polish Academy of Science in vertebrate palaeontology, focusing on Late Jurassic marine reptiles and actinopterygian fishes. He's main research lines are osteology, taphonomy and biogeography.


binkowski 1Marcin Binkowski. Department of Computer Science and Materials Science, University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Lecturer at the Institute of Computer Science (University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland). He got a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (2007, Institute of Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering, Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw, Poland). He conduct part of the PhD project at the University of Basel (2005, Switzerland) and at the University of Nijmegen (2006, Netherlands).

He got post-doctoral fellowship (2007, Foundation for Polish Science, Poland) for visit at the Institute of Orthopaedics & Musculoskeletal, (2007-2008, University College London, United Kingdom). After coming back to Poland he created the X-ray Microtomography Lab. Currently he is responsible for research in assessment of bone microstructure, X-ray Microtomography (XMT) images analysis, 3D Printing of biomedical tools, and daily managing of 12 PhD ongoing projects. He has been selected as a one from first 40 scientists for entrepreneur fellowship financed from governmental program Top500 Innovators (October-December, 2011, Stanford University, USA).

He created the n-LAB (2012, first university spin-out - small enterprises) company based on infrastructure of the XMT Lab, which provides the services in Non-Destructive Tests and 3D printing for universities, hospitals and industry. Since 2012 he was involved in number of project related to printing 3D models for surgical planning including reconstructive maxillo-facial surgery and face transplantation.



FIGURE 1. Map of Poland (1) with the location of the Owadów-Brzezinki Quarry (2B) near Tomaszów Mazowiecki.


FIGURE 2. Panoramic view of the highest level of exploitation in Owadów-Brzezinki quarry (i.e., unit III and most fossiliferous ‘Corbulomima horizon’ occurring in the middle of the quarry wall).


FIGURE 3. Jaw bone of osteichthyan fish Furo sp. (ZPAL P.16/O-B/1): 1-2. 3-D model of ‘virtual fossils’--a different view of the same specimen after digital processing and analysis of tomographic data. 4. vertical sections of Furo sp. teeth. 5. 3-D printed dentary - ‘virtual fossils’. 6. specimen in piece of limestone (scale bars equal 10 mm).


FIGURE 4. Maxillary bone of osteichthyan fish Caturus sp. (ZPAL P.16/O-B/2): 1-2. reconstruction of 3-D ‘virtual fossils’-- the same specimen after digital processing and analysis of tomographic data (scale bars equal 10 mm). 3. vertical sections of Caturus sp. teeth. 4. just after discovery.




Caturus sp. and Furo sp. Click on images to run animations.