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The bony labyrinth of toothed whales reflects both phylogeny and habitat preferences


Costeur, Loïc; Grohé, Camille; Aguirre-Fernández, Gabriel; Ekdale, Eric; Schulz, Georg; Müller, Bert; Mennecart, Bastien (2018). The bony labyrinth of toothed whales reflects both phylogeny and habitat preferences. Scientific Reports, 8:7841.

Abstract

The inner ear of toothed whales (odontocetes) is known to have evolved particular shapes related to their abilities to echolocate and move under water. While the origin of these capacities is now more and more examined, thanks to new imaging techniques, little is still known about how informative inner ear shape could be to tackle phylogenetic issues or questions pertaining to the habitat preferences of extinct species. Here we show that the shape of the bony labyrinth of toothed whales provides key information both about phylogeny and habitat preferences (freshwater versus coastal and fully marine habitats). Our investigation of more than 20 species of extinct and modern odontocetes shows that the semi-circular canals are not very informative, in contrast to baleen whales, while the cochlea alone bears a strong signal. Inner ear shape thus provides a novel source of information to distinguish between morphologically convergent lineages (e.g. river dolphins

Abstract

The inner ear of toothed whales (odontocetes) is known to have evolved particular shapes related to their abilities to echolocate and move under water. While the origin of these capacities is now more and more examined, thanks to new imaging techniques, little is still known about how informative inner ear shape could be to tackle phylogenetic issues or questions pertaining to the habitat preferences of extinct species. Here we show that the shape of the bony labyrinth of toothed whales provides key information both about phylogeny and habitat preferences (freshwater versus coastal and fully marine habitats). Our investigation of more than 20 species of extinct and modern odontocetes shows that the semi-circular canals are not very informative, in contrast to baleen whales, while the cochlea alone bears a strong signal. Inner ear shape thus provides a novel source of information to distinguish between morphologically convergent lineages (e.g. river dolphins

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Paleontological Institute and Museum
Dewey Decimal Classification:560 Fossils & prehistoric life
Language:English
Date:20 April 2018
Deposited On:29 May 2018 13:20
Last Modified:29 May 2018 13:21
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2045-2322
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-26094-0

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