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.
Le genre Leptolophus (Perissodactyla, Mammalia): morphologie et histologie dentaires, anatomie cranienne, implications fonctionnelles.dental histology; Eocene; functional anatomy; Palaeotheriidae; skull anatomy; Southern France; Systematics
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.
Published in Vol. 27, Fasc. 1-2 (1998)