Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 385–387 | Cite as

Interpreting the paleopathology of Darwinius masillae: A reply to Franzen et al. 2013

  • Frank P. Cuozzo
  • Michelle L. Sauther
  • Cora L. Singleton
We thank Franzen et al. ( 2013) for their response to our paper (Sauther and Cuozzo 2012) in which we discuss the behavioral scenario leading to the ultimate demise of Darwinius massillae “Ida” as described in their previous publications (Franzen et al. 2011, 2012). However, we do take serious issue with several points in their response. We are currently preparing a full-length discussion on the use of data on pathology, injury and illness from living and extant primates when interpreting the palaeobiology of recent and more distant extinct primates, but we feel it is important to address several of their critiques immediately. Thus, we here expand on several main points in response to Franzen et al. ( 2013).
  1. 1)

    We strongly disagree with their characterisation of the lemur injuries we describe in Sauther and Cuozzo (2012) as “minor”.

In Figure 7b of our paper (Sauther and Cuozzo 2012), we illustrate a healed fracture of the femur of a ring-tailed lemur ( Lemur catta), among which...


Femoral Shaft Fracture Lemur Catta Ancient Lake Wrist Injury Extant Primate 
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We thank the additional veterinarians and veterinary students who have worked with us in Madagascar since 2003. We also thank the many students, and international and local Malagasy field assistants who have contributed to our project. All work in Madagascar was conducted with IACUC approval from the University of Colorado and/or the University of North Dakota, and with permission of the appropriate governing bodies in Madagascar. Support for our work in Madagascar since 2003 comes from the University of North Dakota (SSAC, Faculty Seed Money Award, Arts, Sciences and Humanities Award), ND EPSCoR, Primate Conservation Inc., The International Primatological Society, The St. Louis Zoo (FRC 06–1), The University of Colorado-Boulder, The National Geographic Society, the American Society of Primatologists, The Lindbergh Fund, and the US National Science Foundation (BCS 0922465).


  1. Franzen JL, Gingerich PD, Habersetzer J, Hurum JH, Koenigswald W, Smith H (2009) Complete primate skeleton from the middle Eocene of Messel in Germany: morphology and paleobiology. PLoS ONE 4(5):1–27. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0005723, e5723CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Franzen JL, Habersetzer J, Schlosser-Sturm E, Franzen EL (2011) Paleopathology of Darwinius masillae (Mammalia, Primates). In: Lehmann T, Schaal SFK (eds) The world at the time of Messel: puzzles in the palaeobiology, palaeoenvironment, and the history of the early primates (22nd Int Senckenberg Conf, conference volume). Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung, Frankfurt am Main, pp 61–62Google Scholar
  3. Franzen JL, Habersetzer J, Schlosser-Sturm E, Franzen EL (2012) Palaeopathology and fate of Ida (Darwinius masillae, Primates, Mammalia). In: Lehmann T, Schaal SFK (eds) Messel and the terrestrial Eocene - Proceedings of the 22nd Senckenberg Conference. Palaeobio Palaeoenv 92(4):567–572. doi: 10.1007/s12549-012-0102-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Franzen JL, Habersetzer J, Schlosser-Sturm E, Franzen EL (2013) Reply to Sauther and Cuozzo 2012. Palaeobio Palaeoenv. doi: 10.1007/s12549-013-0122-z Google Scholar
  5. Sauther ML, Cuozzo FP (2012) Understanding Eocene primate palaeobiology using a comprehensive analysis of living primate ecology, biology and behaviour. In: Lehmann T, Schaal SFK (eds) Messel and the terrestrial Eocene - Proceedings of the 22nd Senckenberg Conference. Palaeobio Palaeoenv 92(4):573–583. doi: 10.1007/s12549-012-0089-1
  6. Williams BA, Kay RF, Kirk EC, Ross CF (2010) Darwinius masillae is a strepsirrhine – a reply to Franzen et al. (2009). J Hum Evol 59(5):567–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frank P. Cuozzo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michelle L. Sauther
    • 2
  • Cora L. Singleton
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of North DakotaGrand ForksUSA
  2. 2.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ColoradoBoulderUSA
  3. 3.Riverbanks Zoo and GardensColumbiaUSA

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