Pedal distal phalanges of the Eocene adapoids Europolemur and Darwinius compared to phalanges of Notharctus and other primates
- 250 Downloads
Pedal distal phalanges of the Eocene adapoids Europolemur and Darwinius from Messel and Notharctus from Wyoming have been compared morphologically and metrically to representatives of all six superfamilies of extant primates. A detailed system of morphological types is established that differentiates pedal distal phalanges. Four major groups and 12 types can be recognised in primates. Primates additionally show a primary interruption of homogeneity (PIH) between the hallux and other pedal rays, as well as two distinct secondary interruptions of homogeneity (SIH) within more lateral pedal rays. Using morphology, PIH and SIH, we have developed a formula for pedal distal phalanges. Differences among Adapoidea are unexpectedly large. Notharctus shows less differentiation in the pedal phalanges than does Europolemur. Our analyses show that both species of Europolemur had a differentiated grooming claw. Preservation of the second distal phalanx in Darwinius is not sufficient for a detailed classification. Despite similarities of the grooming claws of Europolemur to those of some lemurs and lorises, we hesitate to classify adapoids with Lemuroidea and Lorisoidea as there are significant differences and a possibility of parallelism.
KeywordsDistal phalanges Grooming claw Messel Eocene Adapoidea Primates
We thank Thomas Martin (STIB, Bonn) for providing access to the μCT facilities; Peter Göddertz (STIPB, Bonn) and K. Schilling (Univ. Bonn) for producing most of the CT scans; and E. Schlosser-Sturm and A. Vogel (SMF, Frankfurt) and J. Schultz and A. Bergmann (Bonn) for help with the EDV programs and figures. Doug Boyer provided μCT images of the foot bones described by Maiolino et al. (2012). In addition, we thank Wolfgang Maier and Marc Godinot for very helpful reviews of the manuscript.
The important fossils were made accessible to us by E. Frey (SMNK, Karlsruhe), J. Hurum (Natural History Museum, Oslo), G. Gruber and N. Micklich (HLMD, Darmstadt). Gregg Gunnel drew our attention to previously undiscribed notharctine distal phalanges. Primate skeletons for μCT-scanning were loaned by J. Adrian (ZFMK, Bonn), M. Hiermeier (ZSM, München), R. Hutterer (ZFMK, Bonn), R. Kraft (ZSM, München), K. Krohmann (SMF, Frankfurt), W. Maier (Tübingen), F. Mayer (ZMB, Berlin) and K. Mätz-Reising (DPZ, Göttingen). We thank J. Franzen, J. Hurum, and B. H. Smith for discussion. The research project was supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung (Bonn) providing support to PDG, and by the Ermann-Stiftung (Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut, Frankfurt) providing financial support for additional external X-ray scans.
- Covert HH (1985) Adaptations and evolutionary relationships of the Eocene primate family Notharctidae. Ph D Duke Univ, DurhamGoogle Scholar
- Covert HH (1986) Biology of early Cenozoic primates. In: Swindler DR, Erwin J (eds) Comparative Primate Biology. Volume 1: Systematics, Evolution, and Anatomy. Alan Liss, New York, pp 335–359Google Scholar
- Franzen JL, Frey E (1993) Europolemur completed. Kaupia 3:113–130Google Scholar
- Franzen JL, Gingerich PD, Habersetzer J, Hurum JH, Koenigswald Wv, Smith BH (2009) Complete primate skeleton from the middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: morphology and paleobiology. PLoS One 4(e5723):1–27Google Scholar
- Gingerich PD (1976) Cranial anatomy and evolution of early Tertiary Plesiadapidae (Mammalia, Primates). Univ Michigan Papers Paleont 15:1–140Google Scholar
- Gingerich, PD (2012) Primates in the Eocene. In: Lehmann T, Schaal SFK (eds) Messel and the terrestrial Eocene—Proceedings of the 22nd Senckenberg Conference. Palaeobio Palaeoenv 92(4). doi: 10.1007/s12549-012-0093-5
- Gregory WK (1920) On the structure and relations of Notharctus, an American Eocene primate. Am Mus Nat Hist Mem 3:49–243Google Scholar
- Groves CP (1991) A theory of human and primate evolution. Clarendon, OxfordGoogle Scholar
- Hamrick MW, Alexander JP (1996) The hand skeleton of Notharctus tenebrosus (Primates, Notharctidae) and its significance for the origin of the primate hand. Am Mus Novit 3182:1–20Google Scholar
- Hershkovitz P (1977) Living New World monkeys (Platyrrhini), with an introduction to primates, vol 1. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
- Koenigswald Wv (1979) Ein Lemurenrest aus dem eozänen Ölschiefer der Grube Messel bei Darmstadt. Paläontol Z 53:63–76Google Scholar
- Koenigswald Wv (1987) Die Fauna des Ölschiefers von Messel. In: Heil R, von Koenigswald W, Lippmann HG, Graner D, Heunisch O (eds) Fossilen der Messel Formation. Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt, pp 71–142Google Scholar
- Koenigswald Wv, Habersetzer J, Gingerich PD (2011) Morphology and evolution of the distal phalanges in primates. In: Lehmann TM, Schaal SFK (eds) The world at the time of Messel: puzzles in palaeobiology, palaeoenvironment, and the history of early primates (conference volume, 22nd International Senckenberg Conference). Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Frankfurt am Main, pp 91–94Google Scholar
- Le Gros Clark WE (1936) The problem of the claw in primates. Proc Zool Soc Lond 1936:1–24Google Scholar
- Le Gros Clark WE (1962) The antecedents of man. Edinburgh University Press, EdinburghGoogle Scholar
- Lippmann HG, Wiemer G (1979) Bergung und Präparation von Fossilien aus der Grube Messel unter Berücksichtigung eines Primatenfundes. Präparator 25:3–13Google Scholar
- Maiolino S, Boyer DM, Bloch JI, Gilbert CC, Groenke J (2012) Evidence for a grooming claw in a North American adapiform primate: implications for anthropoid origins. PLoS One 7(e29135):1–28Google Scholar
- Martin RD (1990) Primate origins and evolution: a phylogenetic reconstruction. Princeton Univ Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar