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Petrosal and bony labyrinth morphology of the stem paenungulate mammal (Paenungulatomorpha) Ocepeia daouiensis from the Paleocene of Morocco

Abstract : Based on high-resolution computed tomography, we describe in detail the petrosal and inner ear anatomy of one of the few known African stem paenungulates (Paenungulatomorpha), Ocepeia daouiensis from the Selandian of the Ouled Abdoun phosphate basin (Morocco). The petrosal of Ocepeia displays some remarkable, probably derived features (among eutherians) such as relatively small pars cochlearis, pars canalicularis, and labyrinth (incl. small semicircular canals), a large wing-like pars mastoidea, a large and inflated tegmen tympani, and the dorsoventral orientation of the large canal for the ramus superior. The presence of small semicircular canals in Ocepeia is an interesting shared trait with tenrecoidean afrotherians. Otherwise, and consistent with a general primitive skull morphology, the middle ear and labyrinth of Ocepeia daouiensis is characterized by many plesiomorphic traits close to the eutherian generalized plan. This adds to the rather generalized morphology of the earliest crown paenungulates such as Eritherium, Phosphatherium, and Seggeurius to support an ancestral paenungulatomorph morphotype poorly derived from the eutherian pattern. As a result, Ocepeia provides key morphological and fossil data to test phylogenetic relationships of the Afrotheria (including Paenungulatomorpha) at the placental root mostly inferred from molecular studies.
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https://hal-mnhn.archives-ouvertes.fr/mnhn-02626224
Contributor : Emmanuel Gheerbrant <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, November 25, 2020 - 6:38:02 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 2:42:10 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, February 26, 2021 - 6:05:40 PM

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Emmanuel Gheerbrant, Arnaud Schmitt, Guillaume Billet. Petrosal and bony labyrinth morphology of the stem paenungulate mammal (Paenungulatomorpha) Ocepeia daouiensis from the Paleocene of Morocco. Journal of Anatomy, Wiley, In press, ⟨10.1111/joa.13255⟩. ⟨mnhn-02626224⟩

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