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Faujas de Saint-Fond, Reinwardt, Cuvier et les poissons fossiles du Crétacé de la « Montagne Saint-Pierre » de Maastricht (Pays-Bas)

Arnaud BRIGNON

fr Geodiversitas 37 (1) - Pages 59-77

Published on 27 March 2015

Faujas de Saint-Fond, Reinwardt, Cuvier and the fossil fishes from the Cretaceous of Sint Pietersberg of Maastricht (The Netherlands)

The first paleoichthyological discoveries from the type Maastrichtian area in the late 18th and early 19th centuries are reviewed. After the taking of Maastricht in November 1794 by the French revolutionary army in war against the Stadholder, William V, several collections of “petrifications” from the underground quarries of Sint Pietersberg were acquired by Augustin-Lucie de Frécine, Représentant du Peuple, and by André Thoüin and Barthélémy Faujas de Saint-Fond, both Commissioners charged for collecting objects of science and art in the conquered countries. These fossils were sent to Paris in 1795 and subsequently described and figured between 1799 and 1803 by Faujas de Saint-Fond in his Histoire naturelle de la Montagne de Saint-Pierre de Maestricht. Unpublished drawings by Nicolas Maréchal (1753-1802), painter at the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris) as well as new bibliographic data concerning Faujas de Saint-Fond’s book are presented here for the first time. The fish remains (Chondrichthyes and Actinopterygii) depicted in this book are reviewed. Searches in the Collection of Paleontology of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris) have yielded the rediscovery of both teeth of Squalicorax pristodontus (Agassiz, 1835) and the tooth of Cretolamna lata (Agassiz, 1838) figured by Faujas de Saint-Fond. These historic fossils are the first specimens of the genus Squalicorax Whitley, 1939 et Cretolamna Glickman, 1958 figured in a publication. In addition, an unpublished drawing made in 1811 when Cuvier was on a tour of inspection of the establishments of public instruction in Holland, enables to retrace the history of the holotype of Enchodus faujasi Agassiz, 1843. This specimen was originally kept in the National Cabinet of Natural History in Amsterdam, established by the former King of Holland, Louis Bonaparte. Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt was the director of this Cabinet. He offered the fossil to the Museum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris) where it has been kept since then.

 

Keywords :

History of paleontology, Faujas de Saint-Fond, Reinwardt, Cuvier, Lamniformes, Enchodontidae, Maastrichtian, Natural History Cabinets

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