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Chondrenchelys problematica (meaning “eel cartilage”) is an extinct genus of cartilaginous fish from the Carboniferous Period. Chondrenchelys was named in 1888 and has been described four separate times. Chondrenchelys would have been quite a relatively small fish with an elongated body, it had a dorsal fin which was indeed long and a body which tapered to a point. Chondrenchelys had two large pairs of tooth plates in each jaw.


Chondrenchelys problematica


Traquair, 1888

Meaning of the generic name

Eel Cartilage



Length: Up to 1 m?



Partial skeleton, jaw sections, isolated bones


Age and Distribution

Middle Carboniferous, Mississippian (Visean) Montana and Scotland.



Gnathostomata, Chondrichthyes, Chondrenchelyiformes.


  Further Reading


Geological Conservation Review, Volume 16: Fossil Fishes of Great Britain Chapter 9: British Carboniferous fossil fishes sites. Site: GLENCARTHOLM (GCR ID: 2758)

Moy-Thomas, J.A. (1935) The structure and affinities of Chondrenchelys problematicus Tr. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, (1935), 391–403.



Chondrenchelys has been found in places such as North America and Glencartholm in Scotland, here the type specimen was discovered. Chondrenchelys was placed into a separate order being the chondrencheliformes. Chondrenchelys is said to be one of the most unique and strangest of fishes found at this site in Scotland, the species for sometime was the sole representative of the order Chondrencheliformes until another was found in the Bear Gulch Limestone in Montana, U.S.A.
 Life reconstruction of Chondrenchelys problematica 
(© N. Tamura)