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December 2019
Vol 42-2
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Palaeovertebrata in press article


The digital endocast of Necrolemur antiquus
Arianna Harrington, Gabriel Yapuncich and Doug Boyer
Keywords: brain evolution; Eocene; Omomyiforms; Primates

doi: 10.18563/pv.43.2.e1
 

Cite this article: Harrington A., Yapuncich G., Boyer D., 2020. The digital endocast of Necrolemur antiquus. Palaeovertebrata 43 (2)-e1. doi: 10.18563/pv.43.2.e1

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Abstract

The study of endocasts, or casts of the endocranial space, have played an important role in shaping understanding of mammalian, and particularly primate, brain evolution. Recently, the reconstructions of three-dimensional virtual endocasts from high-resolution computed tomography images have allowed for the visualization and quantification of endocasts in several Paleocene and Eocene primate species. Here we present the virtual endocast of MaPhQ 289 (informally known as the Montauban 9 skull), a specimen of Necrolemur antiquus Filhol 1873, a middle to late Eocene European primate of the family Microchoeridae. The virtual endocast of MaPhQ 289 reveals a lissencephalic surface morphology with expanded temporal poles and minimal overlap of the cerebellum or olfactory bulb by the cerebrum, which closely resembles the morphology of the endocast of its contemporary relative, Microchoerus erinaceus (Primates, Microchoeridae). MaPhQ 289 yields an endocranial volume (ECV) of 2.36 cm3, about 60% smaller than the volume of the most commonly cited ECV of N. antiquus. Thus, the size of the brain of N. antiquus relative to its body size is likely to be smaller than has been reported in previous literature, highlighting the importance of corroborating older ECV estimates with new evidence using 3-D imaging techniques. 



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