Published in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Volume 25, Issue 2, June 1, 2005, pages 274-279. Copyright © 2005 Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. Journal webpage: http://vertpaleo.org/publications/JVPContent.cfm.
Until recently, Histiophorus rotundus Woodward 1901, was known from a single, poorly preserved rostrum from the Tertiary phosphate beds near Charleston, South Carolina, an area from which many fossils have been described. The specimen is relatively featureless externally; its internal anatomy is unknown and the documentation of its geological provenance was poor. In an earlier revision the species was transferred to the fossil billfish genus Xiphiorhynchus Van Beneden, 1871. Here we confirm this designation, supported by new morphological studies of the holotype, recently found specimens of tXiphiorhynchus rotundus (Woodward, 1901), and the stratigraphic record of tXiphiorhynchus. The systematic paleontology we present is a contribution to the taxonomic revision of billfishes world-wide. Because the holotype is heavily phosphatized and the type locality was vaguely described, we discuss the geology of the phosphate mining districts of the Charleston region. Based on our studies, we can narrow the possible age of the holotype to late Oligocene or early Miocene. We suggest X. rotundus was extinct by the Burdigalian.