Project 3650: M. R. Whitney, C. A. Sidor. 2020. Evidence of torpor in the tusks of Lystrosaurus from the Early Triassic of Antarctica. Communications Biology. 3:471.
Specimen: † Lystrosaurus (:UWBM 118022)
View: Transverse


Antarctica has hosted a wide range of ecosystems over the past 500-million years. Early in the Mesozoic, the Antarctic portion of southern Pangaea had a more habitable climate, but its position within the polar circle imposed extreme photoperiod seasonality on its resident flora and fauna. It remains unclear to what degree physiological adaptations underpinned the ability of tetrapods to establish the terrestrial communities captured in the fossil record. Here we use regular and stressful growth marks preserved in the dentine of ever-growing tusks of the Early Triassic mammalian predecessor, Lystrosaurus, to test for adaptations specific to this polar inhabitant. We find evidence of prolonged stress indicative of torpor when compared to tusk samples from non-polar populations of Lystrosaurus. These preliminary findings are the oldest instance of torpor yet reported in the fossil record and demonstrate unexpected physiological flexibility in Lystrosaurus that may have contributed its survivorship through the Permo-Triassic mass extinction.

Read the article »

Article DOI: 10.1038/s42003-020-01207-6

Project DOI: 10.7934/P3650,
This project contains
  • 10 Media
  • 1 Taxon
  • 10 Specimens
Total size of project's media files: 1.67G

Download Project SDD File
Currently Viewing:
MorphoBank Project 3650

    This research
    supported by

    Authors' Institutions

    • Harvard University

    • University of Washington


    member name taxa specimens media
    Megan Whitney
    Project Administrator

    Project has no matrices defined.

    Project views

    type number of views Individual items viewed (where applicable)
    Total project views3804
    Project overview377
    Media views1631Media search (608 views); M692740 (104 views); M692741 (109 views); M692742 (95 views); M692743 (100 views); M692745 (102 views); M692746 (101 views); M692747 (105 views); M692748 (102 views); M692749 (105 views); M692750 (100 views);
    Views for media list355
    Specimen list1097
    Taxon list206
    Documents list1

    Project downloads

    type number of downloads Individual items downloaded (where applicable)
    Total downloads from project88
    Project downloads86
    Media downloads2M692743 (1 download); M692741 (1 download);