Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 97, Issue 7, pp 683–687 | Cite as

Mammalian hairs in Early Cretaceous amber

Short Communication

Abstract

Two mammalian hairs have been found in association with an empty puparium in a ∼100-million-year-old amber (Early Cretaceous) from France. Although hair is known to be an ancestral, ubiquitous feature in the crown Mammalia, the structure of Mesozoic hair has never been described. In contrast to fur and hair of some Jurassic and Cretaceous mammals preserved as carbonized filaments, the exceptional preservation of the fossils described here allows for the study of the cuticular structure. Results show the oldest direct evidence of hair with a modern scale pattern. This discovery implies that the morphology of hair cuticula may have remained unchanged throughout most of mammalian evolution. The association of these hairs with a possible fly puparium provides paleoecological information and indicates peculiar taphonomic conditions.

Keywords

Mammal Hair Amber Cretaceous France 

References

  1. Backwell L, Pickering R, Brothwell D, Berger L, Witcomb M, Martill D, Penkman K, Wilson A (2009) Probable human hair found in a fossil hyaena coprolite from Gladysvale cave, South Africa. J Archaeol Sci 36:1269–1276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Brunner H, Triggs B (2002) Hair ID: an interactive tool for identifying Australian mammalian hair. CSIRO, ColligwoodGoogle Scholar
  3. Eckstein K (1890) Thierische Haareinschlüsse im baltischen Bernstein. Schr Naturf Ges Danzig 7:90–93Google Scholar
  4. Gautier A, Schumann S (1973) Puparia of the subarctic or black blow fly (Protophormia terranovae Robineau-Desvoidy 1830) in a skull of a Late Eemian(?) bison at Zemst, Brabant (Belgium). Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 14:119–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Germonpré M, Leclercq M (1994) Des pupes de Protophormia terranovae associées à des mammifères pléistocènes dans la Vallée flamande (Belgique). Bull Inst r Sci nat Belg 64:265–268Google Scholar
  6. Girard V, Schmidt AR, Saint Martin S, Struwe S, Perrichot V, Saint Martin J-P, Grosheny D, Breton G, Néraudeau D (2008) Evidence for marine microfossils from amber. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 94:11163–11167Google Scholar
  7. Girard V, Néraudeau D, Breton G, Saint Martin S, Saint Martin J-P (2009a) Contamination of amber samples by recent microorganisms and remediation evidenced by mid-Cretaceous amber of France. Geomicrobiol J 26:21–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Girard V, Saint Martin S, Saint Martin J-P, Schmidt AR, Struwe S, Perrichot V, Breton G, Néraudeau D (2009b) Exceptional preservation of marine diatoms in upper Albian amber. Geology 37:83–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ji Q, Luo Z-X, Yuan C-X, Wible JR, Zhang J-P, Georgi JA (2002) The earliest eutherian mammal. Nature 416:816–822CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Ji Q, Luo Z-X, Yuan C-X, Tabrum AR (2006) A swimming mammaliaform from the Middle Jurassic and ecomorphological diversification of early mammals. Science 311:1123–1127CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Kellner AWA, Wang X, Tischlinger H, Campos DA, Hone DWE, Meng X (2010) The soft tissue of Jeholopterus (Pterosauria, Anurognathidae, Batrachognathinae) and the structure of the pterosaur wing membrane. Proc R Soc B 277:321–329CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Kielan-Jarowowska Z, Cifelli RL, Luo Z-X (2004) Mammal from the age of dinosaurs. Origins, evolution and structure. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Kirkland JI, Delgado DR, Chimedtseren A, Hasiotis ST, Fox EJ (1998) Insect? bored dinosaur skeletons and associated pupae from the Djadokhta Fm. (Cretaceous, Campanian). J Vert Paleontol 18:56AGoogle Scholar
  14. Labandeira CC (1998) The role of insects in Late Jurassic to Middle Cretaceous ecosystems. In: Lucas SG, Kirkland JI, Estep JW (eds) Lower and middle cretaceous terrestrial ecosystems. NM Mus Nat Hist Sci 14, 105–124Google Scholar
  15. Li G, Luo Z-X (2006) A Cretaceous symmetrodont therian with some monotreme-like postcranial features. Nature 439:195–200CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Luo Z-X (2003) Transformation and diversification in early mammal evolution. Nature 302:1934–1940Google Scholar
  17. Luo Z-X (2007) Transformation and diversification in early mammal evolution. Nature 450:1011–1019CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. MacPhee RDE, Grimaldi DA (1996) Mammal bones in Dominican amber. Nature 380:489–490CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Meng J, Wyss AR (1997) Multituberculate and other mammal hair recovered from Palaeogene excreta. Nature 385:712–714CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Meng J, Hu Y, Wang Y, Wang X, Li C (2006) A Mesozoic gliding mammal from northeastern China. Nature 444:889–893CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Néraudeau D, Perrichot D, Dejax J, Masure E, Nel A, Philippe M, Moreau P, Guillocheau F, Guyot T (2002) Un nouveau gisement à ambre insectifère et à végétaux (Albien terminal probable): archingeay (Charente-Maritime, France). Geobios 35:233–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Novacek MJ (1997) Mammalian evolution: an early record bristling with evidence. Curr Biol 7:489–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Peñalver E, Grimaldi D (2005) Assemblages of mammalian hair and blood-feeding midges (Insecta: Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae) in Miocene amber. Trans R Soc Edinb Earth Sci 96:177–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Perrichot V (2005) Environnements paraliques à ambre et à végétaux du Crétacé nord-aquitain (Charentes, Sud-Ouest de la France). Mém Géosci Rennes 118:1–310Google Scholar
  25. Perrichot V, Girard V (2009) A unique piece of amber and the complexity of ancient forest ecosystems. Palaios 24:137–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Perrichot V, Néraudeau D (2005) Reptile skin remains in the Cretaceous amber of France. C R Palevol 4:47–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Perrichot V, Marion L, Néraudeau D, Vullo R, Tafforeau P (2008) The early evolution of feathers: fossil evidence from the Cretaceous amber of France. Proc R Soc B 275:1197–1202CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Poinar GO Jr (1988) Hair in Dominican amber: evidence for tertiary land mammals in the Antilles. Experientia 44:88–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Poinar GO Jr, Columbus JT (1992) Adhesive grass spikelet with mammalian hair in Dominican amber: first fossil evidence of epizoochory. Experientia 48:906–908CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Poinar GO Jr, Poinar R (1999) The amber forest: a reconstruction of a vanished world. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  31. Poinar GO Jr, Poinar R (2008) What bugged the dinosaurs? Insects, disease, and death in the Cretaceous. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  32. Pouech J, Mazin J-M, Billon-Bruyat J-P (2006) Microvertebrate biodiversity from Cherves-de-Cognac (Lower Cretaceous, Berriasian: Charente, France). In: Barrett PM, Evans S (eds), 9th Mesozoic Terrestrial Ecosystems and Biota, Manchester, pp 96–100Google Scholar
  33. Roberts EM, Rogers RR, Foreman BZ (2007) Continental insect borings in dinosaur bone: examples from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar and Utah. J Paleontol 81:201–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rougier GW, Ji Q, Novacek MJ (2003) A new symmetrodont mammal with fur impressions from the Mesozoic of China. Acta Geol Sin 77:7–14Google Scholar
  35. Schmidt AR, Ragazzi E, Coppellotti O, Roghi G (2006) A microworld in Triassic amber. Nature 444:835CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Springhorn R (1982) Neue Raubtiere (Mammalia: Creodonta et Carnivora) aus dem Lutetium der Grube Messel (Deutschland). Palaeontogr A 179:105–141Google Scholar
  37. Sukontason KL, Ngern-Klun R, Sripakdee D, Sukontason K (2007) Identifying fly puparia by clearing technique: application to forensic entomology. Parasitol Res 101:1407–1416CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Teerink BJ (2003) Hair of West-European mammals: atlas and identification key. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  39. Voigt E (1952) Ein Haareinschluss mit Phthirapteren-Eiern im Bernstein. Mitt Geol Staatsinst Hamburg 2:59–74Google Scholar
  40. Vullo R, Gheerbrant E, de Muizon C, Néraudeau D (2009) The oldest modern therian mammal from Europe and its bearing on stem marsupial paleobiogeography. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:19910–19915PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Xu X, Guo Y (2009) The origin and early evolution of feathers: insights from recent paleontological and neontological data. Vert PalAsiat 10:311–329Google Scholar
  42. Zherikhin VV, Sukatsheva ID (1973) On the Cretaceous insectiferous “ambers” (retinits) in the North Siberia. In: Narchuk EP (ed) Problems of the insect palaeontology. Lectures on the 24th Annual Readings in Memory of NA Kholodkovsky, Nauka, Leningrad, pp 3–48 [in Russian]Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de Rennes 1RennesFrance
  2. 2.Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und NaturmuseumFrankfurt am MainGermany
  3. 3.Faculty of Sciences II, Department of BiologyLebanese UniversityFanar-MatnLebanon

Personalised recommendations