Journal article

Digital reconstruction of the inner ear of Leptictidium auderiense (Leptictida, Mammalia) and North American leptictids reveals new insight into leptictidan locomotor agility

  • Ruf, Irina Abteilung Paläoanthropologie und MesselforschungSenckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Frankfurt Germany - Steinmann-Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und PaläontologieRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn Germany
  • Volpato, Virginie Abteilung Paläoanthropologie und MesselforschungSenckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Frankfurt Germany - Department of GeosciencesUniversity of Fribourg Switzerland
  • Rose, Kenneth D. Center for Functional Anatomy and EvolutionJohns Hopkins University School of Medicine BaltimoreUSA
  • Billet, Guillaume Steinmann-Institut für Geologie, Mineralogie und PaläontologieRheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn Germany - Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, CR2P - UMR 7207 CNRS, MNHNUniv Paris 06, Sorbonne Universités Paris France
  • Muizon, Christian de Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, CR2P - UMR 7207 CNRS, MNHNUniv Paris 06, Sorbonne Universités Paris France
  • Lehmann, Thomas Abteilung Paläoanthropologie und MesselforschungSenckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Frankfurt Germany
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    20.01.2016
Published in:
  • Paläontologische Zeitschrift. - 2016, vol. 90, no. 1, p. 153–171
English Leptictida are basal Paleocene to Oligocene eutherians from Europe and North America comprising species with highly specialized postcranial features including elongated hind limbs. Among them, the European Leptictidium was probably a bipedal runner or jumper. Because the semicircular canals of the inner ear are involved in detecting angular acceleration of the head, their morphometry can be used as a proxy to elucidate the agility in fossil mammals. Here we provide the first insight into inner ear anatomy and morphometry of Leptictida based on high-resolution computed tomography of a new specimen of Leptictidium auderiense from the middle Eocene Messel Pit (Germany) and specimens of the North American Leptictis and Palaeictops. The general morphology of the bony labyrinth reveals several plesiomorphic mammalian features, such as a secondary crus commune. Leptictidium is derived from the leptictidan groundplan in lacking the secondary bony lamina and having proportionally larger semicircular canals than the leptictids under study. Our estimations reveal that Leptictidium was a very agile animal with agility score values (4.6 and 5.5, respectively) comparable to Macroscelidea and extant bipedal saltatory placentals. Leptictis and Palaeictops have lower agility scores (3.4 to 4.1), which correspond to the more generalized types of locomotion (e.g., terrestrial, cursorial) of most extant mammals. In contrast, the angular velocity magnitude predicted from semicircular canal angles supports a conflicting pattern of agility among leptictidans, but the significance of these differences might be challenged when more is known about intraspecific variation and the pattern of semicircular canal angles in non-primate mammals.
Faculty
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Department
Département de Géosciences
Language
  • English
Classification
Paleontology
License
License undefined
Identifiers
Persistent URL
https://folia.unifr.ch/unifr/documents/305112
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