Megapiranha paranensis from the Upper Miocene of Argentina is described based on a large, partially toothed premaxilla as a new genus and species of serrasalmid fish (pacus and piranhas) and is diagnosed and distinguished from other serrasalmids based on the following unique combination of characters: seven premaxillary teeth with the first four arranged in a shallow, zig-zag row, and third tooth shaped similarly to the fourth and fifth teeth; large, triangular, unicuspid crowns with finely serrated cutting edges. The phylogenetic position of Megapiranha was determined by parsimony analysis of morphological characters. The resulting analysis recovered Megapiranha as sister to the piranha clade (Pygopristis, Pygocentrus, Pristobrycon, Serrasalmus) and is supported by two synapomorphies: (1) teeth triangular in labial view with well-developed cutting edges, and (2) serrations along both sides of tooth cutting edges. The pattern of tooth placement exhibited by the fossil Megapiranha is intermediate between the double-row condition of pacus and the single-row condition of piranhas, and suggests how the double row of teeth may have been rearranged into a single row in the evolution of piranhas.
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Vol. 29 • No. 2