Structure of the Ear Region in Living and Subfossil Lemurs

  • Roger Saban


This study is limited to the examination of the bony ear, including the interior of the temporal bone (Figs. 1 and 2). Consisting as it does of three parts (external, middle, and inner ears), this region is one of cavities of varied dimension and complexity (Lamberton, 1941; Saban, 1956, 1963). Evolutionary modification is particularly evident in the external and middle ears, whereas the inner ear is relatively homogeneous within the lemurs. In the region with which we are concerned, the following are encountered during the course of primate evolution: (1) the appearance of the external auditory meatus by the extension of the tympanic bone (external ear), and (2) the disappearance of the petrosal auditory bulla and the progressive pneumatization of the middle ear and the surrounding area (squama temporalis and the petromastoid region), which eventually reaches the inner ear as the mastoid process appears (Saban, 1964b). The auditory region is crossed by numerous canals associated with the passage of nerves, vessels, and even muscles: These canals permit the reconstruction of vascular relationships among the fossil forms, an important point because primate evolution is characterized by the developing dominance of the carotid over the vertebral system in the arterial irrigation of the brain, and of the internal jugular over the external jugular system in the venous drainage.


Auditory Tube External Auditory Meatus Tympanic Cavity Facial Canal Posterior Canal 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Saban
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Anatomie ComparéeParisFrance

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