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Tooth Enamel Microstructure of Living and Extinct Hyracoids Reveals Unique Enamel Types Among Mammals

Abstract : Among medium- to large-sized terrestrial ‘ungulates,’ there is often a relationship between increasing body size, correlated changes in diet, and increased complexity of the enamel microstructures [notably the development of Hunter-Schreger bands (HSB)]. An exhaustive survey of the enamel microstructures of living and extinct Hyracoidea demonstrates, however, that the Schmelzmuster within this order of mammals is generally one-layered and formed by radial enamel despite a large range of body sizes and dietary adaptations; HSB are remarkably absent. Radial enamel is characteristic of early diverging hyracoids, as well as more derived members of the extinct families Geniohyidae and Pliohyracidae, and the extant Procaviidae. Only some large ‘Saghatheriidae,’ and all members of the family Titanohyracidae, developed a more complex enamel microstructure (i.e., with prisms decussating), a unique condition among Mammalia that we name ‘bundled enamel’ (BE). This structure is reminiscent to some degree of both the ‘Pyrotherium enamel’ and the ‘3D enamel’ of proboscideans. Hyracoids with BE represented a major component of the diversity of mid- to large-sized herbivores during the Paleogene in Africa. Like HSB, which are developed by most other ‘ungulates,’ the BE is regarded as a device for resisting propagation of cracks during mastication. Hyracoids never developed however the ‘modified radial enamel’ that is characteristic of most large and hypsodont perissodactyls and artiodactyls that entered Africa during the Miocene.
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Soumis le : jeudi 7 janvier 2021 - 09:27:32
Dernière modification le : mercredi 28 septembre 2022 - 16:20:10



Rodolphe Tabuce, Erik Seiffert, Emmanuel Gheerbrant, Léanie Alloing-Séguier, Wighart von Koenigswald. Tooth Enamel Microstructure of Living and Extinct Hyracoids Reveals Unique Enamel Types Among Mammals. Journal of Mammalian Evolution, Springer Verlag, 2017, 24 (1), pp.91-110. ⟨10.1007/s10914-015-9317-6⟩. ⟨hal-03101317⟩



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