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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-24566

Lebrun, R; Ponce de León, M S; Tafforeau, P; Zollikofer, C P E (2010). Deep evolutionary roots of strepsirrhine primate labyrinthine morphology. Journal of Anatomy, 216(3):368-380.

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The cavity system of the inner ear of mammals is a complex three-dimensional structure that houses the organs
of equilibrium and hearing. Morphological variation of the inner ear across mammals reflects differences in
locomotor behaviour and hearing performance, and the good preservation of this structure in many fossil specimens
permits analogous inferences. However, it is less well known to what extent the morphology of the bony labyrinth conveys information about the evolutionary history of primate taxa. We studied this question in strepsirrhine primates with the aim to assess the potential and limitations of using the inner ear as a phylogenetic
marker. Geometric morphometric analysis showed that the labyrinthine morphology of extant strepsirrhines contains
a mixed locomotor, allometric and phylogenetic signal. Discriminant analysis at the family level confirmed
that labyrinthine shape is a good taxonomic marker. Our results support the hypothesis that evolutionary change
in labyrinthine morphology is adequately described with a random walk model, i.e. random phenotypic dispersal in morphospace. Under this hypothesis, average shapes calculated for each node of the phylogenetic tree give
an estimate of inner ear shapes of the respective last common ancestors (LCAs), and this information can be used to infer character state polarity. The labyrinthine morphology of the fossil Adapinae is close to the inferred basal morphology of the strepsirrhines. The inner ear of Daubentonia, one of the most derived extant strepsirrhines, is autapomorphic in many respects, but also presents unique similarities with adapine labyrinths.


28 citations in Web of Science®
33 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Anthropological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Date:March 2010
Deposited On:05 Feb 2010 14:11
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:35
Publisher DOI:10.1111/j.1469-7580.2009.01177.x
PubMed ID:20039977

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