Name: Iniopteryx (Nape wing).
Phonetic: In-e-op-teh-riks.
Named By: Zangerl & Case - 1973.
Classification: Chordata, Chondrichthyes, Holocephali, Iniopterygiformes, Iniopterygidae.
Species: I. rushlaui (type), I. teawhitei.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: Uncertain.
Known locations: USA, Montana, Ohio.
Time period: Pennsylvanian of the Carboniferous.
Fossil representation: Partial specimens.

       Although a member of the same animal class as the sharks, Iniopteryx is thought to have been more like a chimaera. Not to be confused with the creature from Greek mythology, Chimearas are cartilaginous fish that separated from the sharks about four hundred million years ago and are sometimes called ghost sharks or ratfish. Iniopteryx probably had a very similar, if not identical, lifestyle as chimearas today. As such Iniopteryx would have dwelled near the bottom, most probably in very deep water, hunting for crustaceans and invertebrates.
       Not only did Iniopteryx have a very robust looking head, it had very specialised spines that rose up from the back of the head. it is uncertain what these spines were for but they would have been equally suited to both defence and display. it is these spines that superficially look like wings rising from the nape of the neck that gave Iniopteryx its name.

Further reading
- Iniopterygia, a New Order of Chondrichthyan Fishes from the Pennsylvanian of North America. - Fieldiana Geology Memoirs 6:1-67. - R. Zangerl & G. R. Case - 1973.


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