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Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
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Le genre Leptolophus (Perissodactyla, Mammalia): morphologie et histologie dentaires, anatomie cranienne, implications fonctionnelles.
Jean-Albert Remy
Keywords: dental histology; Eocene; functional anatomy; Palaeotheriidae; skull anatomy; Southern France; systematics
 
  Abstract

    A strong lophodonty, an extreme heterodonty, some hypsodonty and regular overlayings of coronal cement are prominent features of the genus Leptolophus (Palaeotheriinae = Palaeotheriidae s.s.). The histological pattern of the teeth unusually joins type II enamel prisms, characteristic of advanced ungulates, together with archaic features, such as an almost complete lack of Hunter-Schreger zonation and a weak expanse of peritubular dentine. The skull is narrow and slender, with an elongated ante-orbital facial region, a moderately notched nasal aperture, a rather elongated post-canine diastem, parallel zygornatic arches and a fairly dorsally located squamoso-mandibular joint.The functional analysis brings to light "ectolophodont" masticatory cycles with two phases, in which maximum power was applied, contrary to equíds, on hindmost teeth; likewise, skull accomodations to increasing height of the teeth are quite different. This study leads to the assumption that Leptolophus may have been light mammals, living in rather open surroundings, browsing on herbaceous plants or leaves cropped close to the ground. Moreover, it appears that it could have been some inadequacy of dental structures to the dietary, which leaded to quick wear of the teeth and to many enamel notches, but had been somewhat balanced by the early increase of hypsodonty, not induced in such a case by a biotop deterioration (as it will happen at the end of the Eocene). This ínadaptation might account for the short duration of the genus Leptolophus, whose the 3 species, L. stehlini, L. nouletí and L. magnus n. sp. are indeed confined in the level MP 16. Its geographical spreading (as far as known, South of western Europe) and the morphological pattern of its dentition suggest that this genus would have been related to early upper Eocene endemic spanish forms.





      


  Article infos

Published in Vol. 27, Fasc. 1-2 (1998)

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