Digital reconstruction of the inner ear of Leptictidium auderiense (Leptictida, Mammalia) and North American leptictids reveals new insight into leptictidan locomotor agility

Abstract

Leptictida are basal Paleocene to Oligocene eutherians from Europe and North America comprising species with highly specialized postcranial features including elongated hind limbs. Among them, the European Leptictidium was probably a bipedal runner or jumper. Because the semicircular canals of the inner ear are involved in detecting angular acceleration of the head, their morphometry can be used as a proxy to elucidate the agility in fossil mammals. Here we provide the first insight into inner ear anatomy and morphometry of Leptictida based on high-resolution computed tomography of a new specimen of Leptictidium auderiense from the middle Eocene Messel Pit (Germany) and specimens of the North American Leptictis and Palaeictops. The general morphology of the bony labyrinth reveals several plesiomorphic mammalian features, such as a secondary crus commune. Leptictidium is derived from the leptictidan groundplan in lacking the secondary bony lamina and having proportionally larger semicircular canals than the leptictids under study. Our estimations reveal that Leptictidium was a very agile animal with agility score values (4.6 and 5.5, respectively) comparable to Macroscelidea and extant bipedal saltatory placentals. Leptictis and Palaeictops have lower agility scores (3.4 to 4.1), which correspond to the more generalized types of locomotion (e.g., terrestrial, cursorial) of most extant mammals. In contrast, the angular velocity magnitude predicted from semicircular canal angles supports a conflicting pattern of agility among leptictidans, but the significance of these differences might be challenged when more is known about intraspecific variation and the pattern of semicircular canal angles in non-primate mammals.

Kurzfassung

Leptictida sind basale Eutheria aus dem Paläozän bis Oligozän von Europa und Nordamerika, die Arten mit hochspezialisiertem Postcranialskelett umfassen; so haben manche Arten deutlich verlängerte Hinterbeine. Hierzu gehört die europäische Form Leptictidium, die möglicherweise ein bipeder Läufer oder Hüpfer war. Da die Bogengänge des Innenohres die Winkelbeschleunigung des Kopfes detektieren, kann deren Morphometrie genutzt werden, um die Agilität fossiler Säuger zu rekonstruieren. Erstmals werden hier die Innenohranatomie und – morphometrie der Leptictida vorgestellt, die auf hochauflösenden Computertomografiescans eines neuen Exemplares von Leptictidium auderiense aus dem mittleren Eozän der Grube Messel (Deutschland) sowie weiteren Exemplaren der nordamerikanischen Formen Leptictis und Palaeictops basieren. Generell zeigt die Morphologie des Innenohres, dass die untersuchten Arten zahlreiche plesiomorphe Säugermerkmale zeigen, wie z. B. ein sekundäres Crus commune. Leptictidium ist vom Grundplan der Leptictida abgeleitet, da es keine Lamina spiralis ossea secundaria besitzt und proportional größere Bogengänge als die anderen untersuchten Leptictida aufweist. Es zeigt sich, dass Leptictidium ein recht agiles Tier mit Agilitätswerten von 4.6 bzw. 5.5 war, die mit denen der Macroscelidea und rezenten biped hüpfenden Placentalia vergleichbar sind. Leptictis und Palaeictops haben geringere Agilitätswerte (3.4 bis 4.1), wie bei den meisten rezenten Säugern, die einen eher generalisierten Lokomotionstyp (z. B. terrestrisch, cursorial) aufweisen. Im Gegensatz dazu zeigt die Berechnung der Winkelbeschleunigungs-Magnitude, die von den Winkeln zwischen den Bogengängen abgeleitet wird, ein gegenteiliges Agilitätsmuster innerhalb der Leptictida, wobei diese Unterschiede weiterer Überprüfungen bedürfen, sobald mehr über die intraspezifische Variabilität der Bogengangwinkel in Nicht-Primaten bekannt ist.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5
Fig. 6

Abbreviations

AMNH:

Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA

F-AM:

Frick Collection, Division of Paleontology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA

SMF:

Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Frankfurt, Germany

SMF-ME:

Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Frankfurt, Germany, Messel Collection

SZ:

Zoologische Schausammlung, Tübingen, Germany

USNM:

Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution,Washington DC, USA

References

  1. Asher, R.J. 1999. A morphological basis for assessing the phylogeny of the “Tenrecoidea” (Mammalia, Lipotyphla). Cladistics 15: 8151–8156.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Asher, R.J., M.C. McKenna, R.J. Emry, A.R. Tabrum, and D. Kron. 2002. Morphology and relationships of Apternodus and other extinct, zalambdodont, placental mammals. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 273: 1–118.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Asher, R.J., M.J. Novacek, and J.H. Geisler. 2003. Relationships of endemic African mammals and their fossil relatives based on morphological and molecular evidence. J Mamm Evol 10: 131–194.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Benoit, J., N. Crumpton, S. Merigeaud, and R. Tabuce. 2013. Petrosal and bony labyrinth morphology supports paraphyly of Elephantulus within Macroscelidea (Mammalia, Afrotheria). J Mamm Evol 21: 173–193.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Berlin, J.C., E.C. Kirk, and T.B. Rowe. 2013. Functional implications of ubiquitous semicircular canal non-orthogonality in mammals. PLoS One 8: e79585.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Billet, G., and C. de Muizon. 2013. External and internal anatomy of a petrosal from the Late Paleocene of Itaboraí, Brazil, referred to Notoungulata (Placentalia). J Vertebr Paleontol 33: 455–469.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Billet, G., D. Germain, I. Ruf, C. de Muizon, and L. Hautier. 2013. Inner ear morphology in Megatherium and insights on the evolution of vestibular system and locomotion in sloths. J Anat 223: 557–567.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Billet, G., C. de Muizon, R. Schellhorn, I. Ruf, S. Ladevèze, and L. Bergqvist. 2015. Petrosal and inner ear anatomy and allometry amongst specimens referred to Litopterna (Placentalia). Zool J Linn Soc 173: 956–987.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Billet, G., L. Hautier, R.J. Asher, C. Schwarz, N. Crumpton, T. Martin, and I. Ruf. 2012. High morphological variation of vestibular system accompanies slow and infrequent locomotion in three-toed sloths. Proc R Soc B 279: 3932–3939.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Butler, P.M. 1956. The skull of Ictops and the classification of the Insectivora. Proc Zool Soc Lond 126: 453–481.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Butler, P.M. 1972. The problem of insectivore classification. In Studies in vertebrate evolution, ed. K.A. Joysey, and T.R. Kemp, 253–265. Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Butler, P.M. 1988. Phylogeny of the insectivores. In The phylogeny and classification of the tetrapods, volume 2: mammals, ed. M.J. Benton, 117–141. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (Systematics Association Special Volume n°35B).

    Google Scholar 

  13. Cox, P.G., and N. Jeffery. 2010. Semicircular canals and agility: the influence of size and shape measures. J Anat 216: 37–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Christian, A. 1999. Zur Biomechanik der Fortbewegung von Leptictidium (Mammalia, Proteutheria). Cour Forsch Senckenberg 216: 1–18.

    Google Scholar 

  15. David, R., J. Droulez, R. Allain, A. Berthoz, P. Janvier, and D. Bennequin. 2010. Motion from the past. A new method to infer vestibular capacities of extinct species. Comptes Rendus Palevol 9: 397–410.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Ekdale, E.G. 2010. Ontogenetic variation in the bony labyrinth of Monodelphis domestica (Mammalia: Marsupialia) following ossification of the inner ear cavities. Anat Rec 293: 1896–1912.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Ekdale, E.G. 2013. Comparative anatomy of the bony labyrinth (inner ear) of placental mammals. PLoS One 8(e66624): 1–100.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Ekdale, E.G. 2015. Form and function of the mammalian inner ear. J Anat. doi:10.1111/joa.12308.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Ekdale, E.G., and T. Rowe. 2011. Morphology and variation within the bony labyrinth of zhelestids (Mammalia, Eutheria) and other therian mammals. J Vertebr Paleontol 31: 658–675.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Ekdale, E.G., J.D. Archibald, and A.O. Averianov. 2004. Petrosal bones of placental mammals from the Late Cretaceous of Uzbekistan. Acta Palaeontol Pol 49: 161–176.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Fleischer, G. 1973. Studien am Skelett des Gehörorgans der Säugetiere, einschließlich des Menschen. Säugetierkundliche Mitteilungen 21: 131–239.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Frey, E., B. Herkner, F. Schrenk, and C. Seiffert. 1993. Reconstructing organismic constructions and the problem of Leptictidium´s locomotion. Kaupia 3: 89–95.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Gill, T. 1872. Arrangement of the families of mammals and synoptical tables of characters of the subdivisions of mammals. Smithson Misc Collect 11: 1–98.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Gingerich, P.D. 1990. Prediction of body mass in mammalian species from long bone lengths and diameters, vol. 28, 79–92. Michigan: Museum of Paleontology, University of Michigan.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Gregory, W.K. 1910. The orders of Mammals. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 27: 1–524.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Gunnell, G.F., T.M. Bown, and J.I. Bloch. 2008. Leptictida. In Evolution of tertiary mammals of North America, vol 2: small mammals, xenarthrans, and marine mammals, ed. C.M. Janis, G.F. Gunnell, and M.D. Uhen, 82–88. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Habersetzer, J., and S. Schaal. 2004. Current geological and paleontological research in the Messel formation. Cour Forsch Senckenberg 252: 1–245.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Hennig, W. 1950. Grundzüge einer Theorie der Phylogenetischen Systematik. Berlin: Deutscher Zentralverlag.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Hooker, J.J. 2013. Origin and evolution of the Pseudorhynchocyonidae, a European Paleogene family of insectivorous placental mammals. Palaeontology 56: 807–835.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Kellner, A.W., and M.C. McKenna. 1996. A leptictid mammal from the Hsanda Gol formation (Oligocene), Central Mongolia, with comments on some Palaeoryctidae. Am Mus Novit 3168: 1–13.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Koenigswald, W. von, and G. Storch. 1987. Leptictidium tobieni n. sp., ein dritter Pseudorhynchocyonide (Proteutheria, Mammalia) aus dem Eozän von Messel. Cour Forsch Senckenberg 91: 107–116.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Koenigswald, W. von, and M. Wuttke. 1987. Zur Taphonomie eines unvollständigen Skelettes von Leptictidium nasutum aus dem Ölschiefer von Messel. Geol Jahrb Hess 115: 65–79.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Koenigswald, W. von, I. Ruf, and P.D. Gingerich. 2009. Cranial morphology of a new apatemyid, Carcinella sigei n. gen. n. sp. (Mammalia, Apatotheria) from the late Eocene of southern France. Palaeontogr Abt A 288: 53–91.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Koenigswald, W. von, G. Storch, and J. Habersetzer. 1998. Messel: Ein Pompeji der Paläontologie. Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke Verlag.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Leidy, J. 1868. Notice of some remains of extinct insectivore from Dakota. Proc Acad Nat Sci Phila 1868: 315–316.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Lenz, O.K., V. Wilde, and W. Riegel. 2011. Lake Messel, an extraordinary archive for the middle Eocene greenhouse climate. In The world at the time of Messel: puzzles in palaeobiology, palaeoenvironment, and the history of early primates, eds. T. Lehmann and S. F. K. Schaal, 102–103. Frankfurt am Main: 22nd International Senckenberg Conference, conference volume, Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung.

  37. Lenz, O.K., V. Wilde, D.F. Mertz, and W. Riegel. 2014. New palynology-based astronomical and revised 40Ar/39Ar ages for the Eocene maar lake of Messel (Germany). Int J Earth Sci 104: 873–889.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Luo, Z.-X., I. Ruf, and T. Martin. 2012. The petrosal and inner ear of the Late Jurassic cladotherian mammal Dryolestes leiriensis and implications for ear evolution in therian mammals. Zool J Linn Soc 166: 433–463.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Luo, Z.-X., I. Ruf, J.A. Schultz, and T. Martin. 2011. Fossil evidence on evolution of inner ear cochlea in Jurassic mammals. Proc R Soc B 278: 28–34.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. MacPhee, R.D.E., and M.J. Novacek. 1993. Definition and relationships of Lipotyphla. In Mammal phylogeny: placentals, ed. F.S. Szalay, M.J. Novacek, and M.C. McKenna, 13–31. New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Macrini, T.E., J.J. Flynn, D.A. Croft, and A.R. Wyss. 2010. Inner ear of a notoungulate placental mammal: anatomical description and examination of potentially phylogenetically informative characters. J Anat 216: 600–610.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Maier, W., G. Richter, and G. Storch. 1986. Leptictidium nasutum – ein archaisches Säugetier aus Messel mit aussergewöhnlichen biologischen Anpassungen. Nat Mus 116: 1–19.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Malinzak, M.D., R.F. Kay, and T.E. Hullar. 2012. Locomotor head movements and semicircular canal morphology in primates. Proc Nat Acad Sci 109: 17914–17919.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Mathis, C. 1989. Quelques insectivores primitifs nouveaux de l´Éocène supérieur du sud de la France. Bulletin du Muséum National d´Histoire Naturelle, Paris, 4ème série, 11, section C, 1: 33–61.

  45. Matthew, W.D. 1899. A provisional classification of the fresh-water Tertiary of the West. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 12: 19–75.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Matthew, W.D. 1909. Carnivora and Insectivora of the Bridger Basin, middle Eocene. Am Mus Nat Hist Mem 9: 289–567.

    Google Scholar 

  47. McKenna, M.C. 1966. Paleontology and the origin of the primates. Folia Primatol 4: 1–25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. McKenna, M.C. 1975. Toward a phylogenetic classification of the Mammalia. In Phylogeny of the Primates: a multidisciplinary approach, ed. W.P. Luckett, and F.S. Szalay, 21–46. New York: Plenum Press.

    Google Scholar 

  49. McKenna, M.C., and S.K. Bell. 1997. Classification of the mammals above the species level. New York: Columbia University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  50. Meng, J., and R.C. Fox. 1995. Osseous inner ear structures and hearing in early marsupials and placentals. Zool J Linn Soc 115: 47–71.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Moodie, R.L. 1922. On the endocranial anatomy of some Oligocene and Pleistocene mammals. J Comp Neurol 34: 343–379.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Novacek, M.J. 1977. A review of Paleocene and Eocene Leptictidae (Eutheria: Mammalia) from North America. PaleoBios 24: 1–42.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Novacek, M.J. 1982. The brain of Leptictis dakotensis, an Oligocene Leptictid (Eutheria: Mammalia) from North America. J Paleontol 56: 1177–1186.

    Google Scholar 

  54. Novacek, M.J. 1986. The skull of leptictid insectivorans and the higher-level classification of eutherian mammals. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 183: 1–111.

    Google Scholar 

  55. O’Leary, M.A., J.I. Bloch, J.J. Flynn, T.J. Gaudin, A. Giallombardo, N.P. Giannini, S.L. Goldberg, B.P. Kraatz, Z.-X. Luo, J. Meng, X. Ni, M.J. Novacek, F.A. Perini, Z.S. Randall, G.W. Rougier, E.J. Sargis, M.T. Silcox, N.B. Simmons, M. Spaulding, P.M. Velazco, M. Weksler, J.R. Wible, and A.L. Cirranello. 2013. The placental mammal ancestor and the post-K–Pg radiation of placentals. Science 339: 662–667.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Orliac, M.J., J. Benoit, and M.A. O’Leary. 2012. The inner ear of Diacodexis, the oldest artiodactyl mammal. J Anat 221: 417–426.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Rathbun, G. 1973. The golden-rumped elephant-shrew. Afr Wildl Leadersh Found News 8: 3–7.

    Google Scholar 

  58. Rathbun, G. 2009. Why is there discordant diversity in sengi (Mammalia: Afrotheria: Macroscelidea) taxonomy and ecology? Afr J Ecol 47: 1–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Rose, K.D. 1999. Postcranial skeleton of Eocene Leptictidae (Mammalia), and its implications for behavior and relationships. J Vertebr Paleontol 19: 355–372.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Rose, K.D. 2006a. The beginning of the age of mammals. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  61. Rose, K.D. 2006b. The postcranial skeleton of Early Oligocene Leptictis (Mammalia: Leptictida), with a preliminary comparison to Leptictidium from the Middle Eocene of Messel. Palaeontogr Abt A 278: 37–56.

    Google Scholar 

  62. Ruf, I., Z.-X. Luo, J.R. Wible, and T. Martin. 2009. Petrosal anatomy and inner ear structures of the Late Jurassic Henkelotherium (Mammalia, Cladotheria, Dryolestoidea): insight into the early evolution of the ear region in cladotherian mammals. J Anat 214: 679–693.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Russell, D.E. 1964. Les mammifères paléocènes d´Europe. Mémoires du Muséum National d´Histoire Naturelle, Série C, Sciences de la Terre, Tome XIII: 1–324.

  64. Ryan, T.M., M.T. Silcox, A. Walker, X. Mao, D.R. Begun, B.R. Benefit, P.D. Gingerich, M. Köhler, L. Kordos, M.L. McCrossin, S. Moyà-Solà, W.J. Sanders, E.R. Seiffert, E. Simons, I.S. Zalmout, and F. Spoor. 2012. Evolution of locomotion in Anthropoidea: the semicircular canal evidence. Proc R Soc B 279: 3467–3475.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Schaal, S., and W. Ziegler. 1992. Messel—an insight into the history of life and of the earth. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

    Google Scholar 

  66. Sánchez-Villagra, M.R., and T. Schmelzle. 2007. Anatomy and development of the bony inner ear in the woolly opossum, Caluromys philander (Didelphimorphia, Marsupialia). Mastozool Neotropical 14: 53–60.

    Google Scholar 

  67. Schmelzle, T., M.R. Sánchez-Villagra, and W. Maier. 2007. Vestibular labyrinth diversity in diprotodontian marsupial mammals. Mamm Study 32: 83–97.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  68. Segall, W. 1970. Morphological parallelisms of the bulla and auditory ossicles in some insectivores and marsupials. Fieldiana Zool 51: 169–205.

    Google Scholar 

  69. Sigé, B. 1974. Pseudorhyncocyon cayluxi Filhol, 1892: insectivore géant des phosphorites du Quercy. Palaeovertebrata 6: 33–46.

    Google Scholar 

  70. Sigé, B. 1975. Insectivores primitifs de l’Éocène supérieur et Oligocène inférieur d’Europe occidentale; Apatemyidés et Leptictidés. Colloq Int du CNRS 218: 653–676.

    Google Scholar 

  71. Silcox, M.T., J.I. Bloch, D.M. Boyer, M. Godinot, T.M. Ryan, F. Spoor, and A. Walker. 2009. Semicircular canal system in early primates. J Hum Evol 56: 315–327.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. Silva, M., and J.A. Downing. 1995. CRC handbook of mammalian body masses. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

    Google Scholar 

  73. Simpson, G.G. 1945. The principles of classification and a classification of mammals. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 85: 1–350.

    Google Scholar 

  74. Spoor, F., T. Garland Jr, G. Krovitz, T.M. Ryan, M.T. Silcox, and A. Walker. 2007. The primate semicircular canal system and locomotion. Proc Nat Acad Sci 104: 10808–10812.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. Storch, G., and A.M. Lister. 1985. Leptictidium nasutum, ein Pseudorhyncocyonide aus dem Eozän der “Grube Messel” bei Darmstadt (Mammalia, Proteutheria). Senckenberg Lethaea 66: 1–37.

    Google Scholar 

  76. Szalay, F.S. 1966. The tarsus of the Paleocene leptictid Prodiacodon (Insectivora, Mammalia). Am Mus Novit 2267: 1–13.

    Google Scholar 

  77. Szalay, F.S. 1977. Phylogenetic relationships and a classification of the eutherian Mammalia. In Major patterns in vertebrate evolution, ed. M.K. Hecht, P.C. Goody, and B.M. Hecht, 315–374. New York: Plenum Press.

    Google Scholar 

  78. Tobien, H. 1962. Insectivoren (Mammalia) aus dem Mitteleozän (Lutetium) von Messel bei Darmstadt. Notizbl des Hess Landesamtes für Bodenforsch Wiesb 90: 7–47.

    Google Scholar 

  79. Walker, A., T.M. Ryan, M.T. Silcox, E.L. Simons, and F. Spoor. 2008. The semicircular canal system and locomotion: the case of extinct lemuroids and lorisoids. Evol Anthropol 17: 135–145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  80. Welker, K.L., J.D. Orkin, and T.M. Ryan. 2009. Analysis of intraindividual and intraspecific variation in semicircular canal dimensions using high-resolution x-ray computed tomography. J Anat 215: 444–451.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  81. West, C.D. 1985. The relationship of the spiral turns of the cochlea and the length of the basilar membrane to the range of audible frequencies in ground dwelling mammals. J Acoust Soc Am 77: 1091–1101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  82. Wible, J.R. 1990. Petrosals of Late Cretaceous marsupials from North America, and a cladistics analysis of the petrosal in therian mammals. J Vertebr Paleontol 10: 183–205.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  83. Wible, J.R., G.W. Rougier, M.J. Novacek, and R.J. Asher. 2007. Cretaceous eutherians and Laurasian origin for placental mammals near the K/T boundary. Nature 447: 1003–1006.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  84. Wible, J.R., G.W. Rougier, M.J. Novacek, and R.J. Asher. 2009. The eutherian mammal Maelestes gobiensis from the Late Cretaceous of Mongolia and the phylogeny of Cretaceous Eutheria. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 327: 1–123.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to express their gratitude for the effort and enthusiasm of the excavation and preparation team from Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Frankfurt (Abteilung Paläoanthropologie und Messelforschung) and Messel Research Station; in particular, M. Ackermann, M. Groppo, and M. Müller, who discovered and prepared the new specimen of Leptictidium auderiense. The Palaeictops specimen was collected under a permit from the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation to KDR. Sincere thanks are given to J. Meng and J. Galkin (American Museum of Natural History, New York) as well as E. Weber (Zoologische Schausammlung Tübingen) for the loan of specimens. We are also grateful to P. Hornberger (Fraunhofer Anwendungszentrum CTMT, Deggendorf) and M. Heath (Werth Messtechnik GmbH, Gießen) for excellent technical assistance with the µCT scans of Leptictidium. C. Pfaff (Institut für Paläontologie, Universität Wien), M. Scheske (Steinmann-Institut, Bonn), and U. Menz (Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum Frankfurt) helped us with technical support. We thank T. Macrini, M. Silcox, and an anonymous reviewer whose comments greatly improved the manuscript. This study was funded by a Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) grant to TL and VV (Le 2730/1-1). This article is dedicated to the memory of our friend and colleague Marion Groppo.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Irina Ruf.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Ruf, I., Volpato, V., Rose, K.D. et al. Digital reconstruction of the inner ear of Leptictidium auderiense (Leptictida, Mammalia) and North American leptictids reveals new insight into leptictidan locomotor agility. Paläontol Z 90, 153–171 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-015-0276-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Leptictida
  • Leptictidium
  • Inner ear
  • Bony labyrinth
  • Semicircular canals
  • Locomotion

Schlüsselwörter

  • Leptictida
  • Leptictidium
  • Innenohr
  • knöchernes Labyrinth
  • Bogengänge
  • Lokomotion