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The serrialis bone, interparietals, "X" elements, entotympanics, and the composition of the notoungulate caudal cranium. (Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, no. 384)

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dc.contributor.author MacPhee, R. D. E.
dc.date.accessioned 2014-01-08T22:26:56Z
dc.date.available 2014-01-08T22:26:56Z
dc.date.issued 2014-01-06
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2246/6465
dc.description 69 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm en_US
dc.description.abstract The composition of the caudal cranium in Notoungulata, an extinct group of endemic South American "ungulates," has never been properly clarified. Some investigators have claimed that so-called "adventitious" elements, or elements not known to occur in other placentals, existed in the auditory regions of certain typotheres and toxodontians. Others have disputed this, arguing that sutures or other indicia that supposedly provide evidence of the developmentally independent origins of these alleged ossifications are either misinterpreted or inconstant. This study attempts to resolve the question of composition, as far as it is possible to do in the case of a wholly extinct clade, with detailed micro-CT investigations of several key taxa, including Oldfieldthomasia (Oldfieldthomasiidae), Paedotherium (Hegetotheriidae), and Cochilius (Interatheriidae). Results show that Santiago Roth was incorrect in asserting that certain notoungulates, such as pachyrukhine hegetotheres, possessed cranial elements (serrialis, posttympanicum, etc.) that are unrepresented in other placentals. George Gaylord Simpson also thought Roth was wrong, but erred in claiming to have discovered concrete evidence of two other ossifications, denoted by him as Xa and Xp, in the auditory region of Oldfieldthomasia. In adult notoungulates the interparietal complex is usually fused with the parietal, or supraoccipital, or both elements. As in certain other mammals, dorsal exposure of the supraoccipital is limited in notoungulates because it is often overplated by the interparietal complex, which thus provides a sort of "second" roof for the caudal cranium. However, there is no interparietal involvement in the middle ear cavity. Finally, for the first time plausible grounds can be offered for the existence of an entotympanic in a notoungulate (Cochilius). Evidence is increasing for the proposition that entotympanics are much more widespread than previously thought, and may in fact be present in most of the major groups of placentals. In summary, this study shows that in terms of participating elements there is nothing unique about the notoungulate caudal cranium, which was evidently as tightly constrained compositionally as it is in other placentals. Nevertheless, this portion of the skull, still notably underutilized in notoungulate studies, could be a crucial source of new characters for assessing higher-level relationships not only among notoungulates, but also among South American ungulates and their possible relatives. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher American Museum of Natural History. en_US
dc.relation.ispartofseries Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, no. 384. en_US
dc.subject Notoungulata. en_US
dc.subject Skull. en_US
dc.subject Cranial sutures. en_US
dc.subject Middle ear. en_US
dc.subject Ungulates. en_US
dc.subject Extinct mammals. en_US
dc.subject South America. en_US
dc.title The serrialis bone, interparietals, "X" elements, entotympanics, and the composition of the notoungulate caudal cranium. (Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, no. 384) en_US
dc.title.alternative Notoungulate caudal cranium. en_US


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  • Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History
    The Bulletin, published continuously since 1881, consists of longer monographic volumes in the field of natural sciences relating to zoology, paleontology, and geology. Current numbers are published at irregular intervals. The Bulletin was originally a place to publish short papers, while longer works appeared in the Memoirs. However, in the 1920s, the Memoirs ceased and the Bulletin series began publishing longer papers. A new series, the Novitates , published short papers describing new forms.

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