Project 946: M. J. Orliac, M. A. O'Leary. 2014. Comparative anatomy of the petrosal bone of dichobunoids, early members of Artiodactylamorpha (Mammalia). Journal of Mammalian Evolution. 21 (1).
Specimen: † Homacodon vagans Marsh, 1872 (USNM:482369)

Abstract

Among Artiodactylamorpha, dichobunoids are some of the oldest fossil species that have been associated with Artiodactyla, the crown clade that includes hippopotamids, camelids, suoids, ruminants and cetaceans. These important fossil species are known from Early Eocene rocks of North America, Europe and Asia but their phylogenetic position has yet to be well-resolved. Before generating such a phylogeny it is first critical to document all of the anatomy of known dichobunoid fossils. Here we use CT scans to describe previously unseen anatomy of the petrosal bone, a complex part of the mammalian skull that contains many variable and phylogenetically informative features. Results show that these extinct species share a number of features that are not documented in modern species including a lateral process of the epitympanic wing constituting the medial border of the piriform fenestra, and a tegmen tympani foramen that may have given passage to the ramus superior of the stapedial artery. Future comprehensive phylogenetic studies may show that many of these characters are plesiomophic for Artiodactylamopha. Some species (Diacodexis, Homacodon and ?Helohyus) exhibit a dorsolateral exposure of the mastoid region of the petrosal on the temporal part of the cranium. This uncommon feature has, to our knowledge, not been reported in another euungulate group.


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Project DOI: 10.7934/P946, http://dx.doi.org/10.7934/P946
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    Authors' Institutions

    • Universite de Montpellier

    • American Museum of Natural History

    • Stony Brook University



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    Maeva Orliac
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    Maureen O'Leary
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