Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
Reconstruction of the cervical skeleton posture of the recently-extinct litoptern mammal Macrauchenia patachonica Owen, 1838biomechanics; cervical posture; functional anatomy; Litopterna; Macrauchenia
Macrauchenia patachonica was among the largest litopterns. It had a long neck with elongated cervical vertebrae, unique among endemic South American ungulates. We calculated the pattern of stress in the joints between the vertebral centra along the neck of the recently-extinct litoptern mammal M. patachonica for various hypothetical neck postures to determine which one is optimal. We also determined the zygapophyseal alignment positions for the neck, assuming a wide range of values for the thickness of the intervertebral discs. We concluded that a vertical posture is the one that best meets the requirements of nearly constant stress. This upright posture was probably a frequently adopted posture by M. patachonica while feeding or standing. It is also possible that occasionally it could adopt a gerenuk-like posture. In almost any other position, the standard deviations of stress values (SD) divided by mean stress (MS) have values between 0.4 and 0.5. Since it was a mixed feeder, M. patachonica probably used different postures to reach resources at different heights. However, an almost horizontal posture was required for the optimal articulation of the neck vertebrae. It probably represents the posture during fast locomotion, as suggested in a previous biomechanical study of locomotion.
Neolicaphrium recens Frenguelli,1921,the only surviving proterotheriidae (Litopterna, Mammalia) into the south american Pleistocene.Litopterna; Neolicaphrium recens; Pleistocene; Proterotheriidae; South America
The litoptem Proterotheriidae are extinct endemic South American ungulates frequently used as an example of evolutionary convergence with the horses. They were considered to be exclusively Tertiary representatives with the youngest record being in the late Pliocene, before the appearence of the equids and cervids during the Great American Interchange. Two undoubted Pleistocene records in Argentina and the specimen here described from Uruguay, confirm the persistence of the proterotherids into that period. In the Quaternary, these ungulates are found outside the typical pampean region and probably were confined to a few northern and warmer more forested relictual microhabitats.
Published in Vol. 30, Fasc. 1-2 (2001)