3D morphometry of polyconitid rudist bivalves based on grinding tomography

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Previous taxonomic studies have shown that polyconitid rudists have a characteristic arrangement of the myocardinal system with an ectomyophoral cavity on the posterior side of the left valve. The specific arrangement of the myophores and associated cavities defines the different genera. However, there has been little research on the three-dimensional spatial distribution and size of the internal features, for want of a technique that is suitable for large and low density-contrast specimens. The tomographic technique described herein is based on automatic serial grinding and serial scanning; the resulting images are treated with biomedical image software. The technique has been applied to a pair of well-preserved specimens of Polyconites verneuili from the Upper Aptian of Spain. Fifteen quantitative characters have been obtained using multiplanar virtual cuts, volume-rendering, and isosurfaces reconstructions. The study revealed the shape, size, and distribution of the ectomyophoral, body and accessory cavities, the lengths and volumes of the teeth, and the arrangement of the myophores. We conclude that this technique facilitates the description of rudist bivalves and is suitable for other fossils; moreover, it has the potential to be used in other fields of geology.

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Helpful reviews by Peter W. Skelton and Ann Molineux contributed to improve this work. Thanks to our colleagues Ramon Salas, Eulàlia Gili, Telm Bover, Ramon Mas, and Jesús García for the valuable comments on stratigraphical and paleontological details. Patrick Zell and Yvonne Spychala did great jobs in preparation, scanning, and image evaluation. Thanks to Francisco J. Cueto for his help with the software. Financial support was granted by Heidelberg University (“Heidelberg Center for the Environment HCE”, “Frontier Innovationsfonds”), by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) project GO 1021/3-2, by the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD (Acciones Integradas), and by the Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst Baden-Württemberg (“RiSC–Research seed capital”).

Author information

Correspondence to Enric Pascual-Cebrian.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Online Resource 2 ( Volume rendering video of the specimen CH02 (MPG 2068 kb)

Online Resource 3 ( Isosurfaces reconstruction video of the free valve of the specimen CH01 (MPG 7412 kb)

Online Resource 5 ( Interactive isosurfaces reconstruction video of the FV of the specimen CH01 (MPG 7358 kb)

Online Resource 1 ( Interactive volume rendering video of the specimen CH01 (MPG 9244 kb)

Online Resource 2 ( Volume rendering video of the specimen CH02 (MPG 2068 kb)

Online Resource 3 ( Isosurfaces reconstruction video of the free valve of the specimen CH01 (MPG 7412 kb)

Online Resource 4 ( Isosurfaces reconstruction video of the right valve of the specimen CH01 (MPG 5072 kb)

Online Resource 5 ( Interactive isosurfaces reconstruction video of the FV of the specimen CH01 (MPG 7358 kb)

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Pascual-Cebrian, E., Hennhöfer, D.K. & Götz, S. 3D morphometry of polyconitid rudist bivalves based on grinding tomography. Facies 59, 347–358 (2013) doi:10.1007/s10347-012-0310-8

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  • Polyconites
  • Rudist bivalves
  • Three-dimensional
  • Reconstruction
  • Grinding tomography
  • OsiriX