Project 420: M. A. O'Leary, B. A. Patel, M. N. Coleman. 2012. New data on the petrosal of Bothriogenys (Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Anthracotheriidae), and petrosal volume and density comparisons among aquatic and terrestrial artiodactyls and outgroups. Journal of Paleontology. 86 (1):44-50.
Specimen: † Bothriogenys gorringei (DUPC:5248)
View: Skull, lateral

Abstract

We report the first detailed endocranial description of the petrosal bone of the ear region in two new specimens of the anthracotheriid artiodactylan Bothriogenys from the Early Oligocene of the Jebel Qatrani Formation, Fayum, Egypt. The new fossils have petrosals with a hyperinflated (pachyostotic) tegmen tympani (the roof over the middle ear), closely resembling the condition in certain cetancodontans such as hippopotamids and basal cetaceamorphans (fossil stem taxa to extant Cetacea). The morphology of the petrosal, particularly its relative size and density, has been considered an important indicator of the ability of a marine mammal to localize sound transmitted in water, yet petrosal size (pachyostosis) and density (osteosclerosis) have not previously been quantified independent of each other. We examine the new fossils in the context of a preliminary CT-based study of petrosal density (extant taxa only) and petrosal volume (extant and extinct taxa) in a sample of artiodactylans and outgroups. In our extant comparative sample, the petrosals of cetaceans are both dense and voluminous as has been previously stated. We find, however, that the tegmen tympani is relatively voluminous (pachyostotic) without being particularly dense (osteosclerotic) in Hippopotamus amphibius, an extant taxon that has been documented to show some aquatic hearing behaviors, albeit less derived ones than those seen in cetaceans. A voluminous tegmen tympani, which is present in ď‚…Bothriogenys, may have specific implications for behavior that are distinct from increases in petrosal density.


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Project DOI: 10.7934/P420, http://dx.doi.org/10.7934/P420
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    Authors' Institutions

    • American Museum of Natural History

    • Midwestern University

    • Stony Brook University



    Members

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    Maureen O'Leary
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    Mark Coleman
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    Biren Patel
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