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Swiss Journal of Geosciences

, Volume 106, Issue 2, pp 265–278 | Cite as

Specialization for amphibiosis in Brachyodus onoideus (Artiodactyla, Hippopotamoidea) from the Early Miocene of France

  • Maeva J. Orliac
  • Pierre-Olivier Antoine
  • Anne-Lise Charruault
  • Sophie Hervet
  • Frédéric Prodeo
  • Francis Duranthon
Article

Abstract

A partial cranium of a very large anthracothere was unearthed during a palaeontological excavation at Saint-Antoine-de-Ficalba (Lot-et-Garonne, France; Early Miocene, ~18–17.0 Ma). The new material, referred to as Brachyodus onoideus (Gervais, 1859), documents the cranial features of this species, so far mainly known by dental and postcranial remains. The preserved part of the skull roughly coincides with the neurocranium and is remarkable for the dorsally-protruding orbits, the importance of the postorbital constriction, the small volume of the braincase, and the gigantic size of the occipital condyle relative to the other elements of the neurocranium. A very careful dissection of the left auditory region allowed extraction of the left petrosal bone and provides the first description of a petrosal for Brachyodus. The morphology of the petrosal is strikingly similar to that of extant hippos with: (1) a ventral basicapsular groove, (2) a sharp crista petrosa, (3) a wide prefacial commissure fossa, (4) a reduced mastoid, and (5) an hyperinflated tegmen tympani. Both the disposition of the orifices of the head and the petrosal morphology support a specialization of Brachyodus onoideus to an amphibious lifestyle and to potential underwater directional hearing.

Keywords

Anthracotheriidae Middle ear Burdigalian Underwater directional hearing 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This material has been collected with the help of the Service Régional d’Aquitaine de l’Institut National de la Recherche Archéologique Préventive (INRAP), the «Archéologies» Association (F. Echasseriaud), the Direction Régionale de l’Equipement d’Aquitaine (E. Brunier), the Entreprise Charier, and the contribution of all the excavation team. Many thanks to L. Costeur for his welcoming access to the collections at the Naturhistorisches Museum, Basel, and to F. Guy for the CT-scan data of Choeropsis liberiensis from the collections of the University of Poitiers. We are grateful to O. Erdal for providing us with more than decent photos of the cranium. L. Scherler and one anonymous reviewer considerably improved a previous version of the manuscript. We were particularly moved to participate in this honorary volume, thanks to Damien Becker’s (Musée Jurassien des Sciences Naturelles, Porrentruy) invitation. This is ISE-M publication n° 2013-007

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Copyright information

© Swiss Geological Society 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maeva J. Orliac
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pierre-Olivier Antoine
    • 1
  • Anne-Lise Charruault
    • 1
  • Sophie Hervet
    • 3
  • Frédéric Prodeo
    • 4
  • Francis Duranthon
    • 5
  1. 1.Institut des Sciences de l’Évolution, UMR-CNRS 5554, CC064Université Montpellier 2MontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Department of African ZoologyRoyal Museum for Central AfricaTervurenBelgium
  3. 3.Association PaléovergneEbreuilFrance
  4. 4.Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques PréventivesPessacFrance
  5. 5.Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle/AMIS-UMR 5288 CNRSToulouseFrance

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