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Proceedings Paper

Observations on the scaling relationship between bony labyrinth, skull size and body mass in ruminants
Author(s): Loïc Costeur; Bastien Mennecart; Bert Müller; Georg Schulz
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Paper Abstract

The bony labyrinth is the bony capsule of the inner ear, which is the center of hearing and balance in the skull of vertebrates. In mammals this osseous structure ossifies early in the development being fully formed largely before birth. This means that it does not grow after full ossification while the animal continues to grow until full adult size well after birth. At the level of an individual, the bony labyrinth thus shows a negative ontogenetic allometric relationship with the surrounding skull and with the animal’s body mass. At the evolutionary level, between species, such a negative allometry has already been evidenced for the middle ear, a component of the ear region made of three tiny bones, the ossicles, in contact with the inner ear. Herein, we test the allometric relationship between the bony labyrinth and skull length as well as body mass on a large sample in the ruminant clade (Mammalia, Ruminantia) using micro computed tomography as the imaging method of choice. We find a strong negative allometry paralleling the ontogentic allometry described earlier. This evolutionary relationship related to the timing of ossification of the bony labyrinth is probably critical in explaining the large hearing frequency range of mammals as well as their particular ecological adaptations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 September 2019
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 11113, Developments in X-Ray Tomography XII, 1111313 (24 September 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2530702
Show Author Affiliations
Loïc Costeur, Naturhistorisches Museum Basel (Switzerland)
Bastien Mennecart, Naturhistorisches Museum Basel (Switzerland)
Bert Müller, Univ. Basel (Switzerland)
Georg Schulz, Univ. Basel (Switzerland)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11113:
Developments in X-Ray Tomography XII
Bert Müller; Ge Wang, Editor(s)

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