skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Anatomy of the petrosal and middle ear of the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout, 1769) (Rodentia, Muridae)
The anatomy of the petrosal and associated middle ear structures are described and illustrated for the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout, 1769). Although the middle ear in this iconic mammal has been treated by prior authors, there has not been a comprehensive, well-illustrated contribution using current anatomical terminology. Descriptions are based on specimens from the osteological collections of the Section of Mammals, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and a CT scanned osteological specimen from the Texas Memorial Museum. The petrosal, ectotympanic, malleus, incus, stapes, and inner ear were segmented from the CT scans. The petrosal of the brown rat is only loosely attached to the cranium, primarily along its posterior border; it is separated from the basisphenoid, alisphenoid, and squamosal by a large piriform fenestra that transmits various neurovascular structures including the postglenoid vein. The extent of the piriform fenestra broadly exposes the tegmen tympani of the petrosal in lateral view. The floor of the middle ear is formed by the expanded ectotympanic bulla, which is tightly held to the petrosal with five points of contact. The surfaces of the petrosal affording contact with the ectotympanic bulla are the rostral tympanic process, the epitympanic wing, the tegmen tympani, two of the three parts of the caudal tympanic process, and the tympanohyal, with the ectotympanic fused to the last. The ectotympanic in turn is fused to the elongate rostral process of the malleus, which is only discoverable through the study of juvenile specimens. In addition to osteology, the major nerves, arteries, and veins of the petrosal are described and illustrated based on the literature and osteological correlates. The petrosal of the brown rat is compared with those of several Eocene rodents to put the extant form in the context of early members of the rodent lineage. Comparisons benefitted from CT scans of the middle Eocene ischromyoid Paramys delicatus Leidy, 1871, from the western United States, affording the first description of the endocranial surface of the petrosal in an Eocene rodent. The petrosals in the Eocene fossils are more tightly held in the cranium, but the ectotympanic contacts the petrosal through the same five points, with some modifications. The most unexpected discovery in Paramys delicatus was the presence of a prominent tentorial process of the parietal in contact with the reduced crista petrosa.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1654949
NSF-PAR ID:
10160592
Author(s) / Creator(s):
;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Annals of Carnegie Museum
Volume:
86
Issue:
1
ISSN:
1943-6300
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1-35
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. The placental order Dermoptera, which includes two extant species, the Philippine and Sunda flying lemurs, Cynocephalus volans and Galeopterus variegatus, respectively, is generally held to be the sister group of Primates. Yet, little has been reported on their cranial anatomy. Here, the anatomy of the ear region is described and illustrated for a juvenile and adult C. volans based on CT scans. The inclusion of a juvenile is essential as nearly all cranial sutures are fused in the adult. Soft tissues are reconstructed based on sectioned histological pre- and postnatal specimens previously reported by the author. Numerous unusual features are identified, including: a small parasphenoid beneath the basisphenoid, a tensor tympani fossa on the epitympanic wing of the squamosal, a cavum supracochleare for the geniculate ganglion of the facial nerve that is not enclosed in the petrosal bone, a secondary facial foramen between the petrosal and squamosal, a secondary posttemporal foramen leading to the primary one, a subarcuate fossa that is floored in part by a large contribution from the squamosal, a body of the incus larger than the head of the malleus, and a crus longum of the incus that lacks an osseous connection to the lenticular process. Documentation of the anatomy of the Philippine flying lemur ear region is an essential first step in morphological phylogenetic analyses where features of the basicranium are widely sampled. 
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    The placental order Dermoptera, which includes two extant species, the Philippine and Sunda flying lemurs,Cynocephalus volansandGaleopterus variegatus, respectively, is generally held to be the sister group of Primates. Yet, little has been reported on their cranial anatomy. Here, the anatomy of the ear region is described and illustrated for a juvenile and adultC. volansbased on CT scans. The inclusion of a juvenile is essential as nearly all cranial sutures are fused in the adult. Soft tissues are reconstructed based on sectioned histological pre‐ and postnatal specimens previously reported by the author. Numerous unusual features are identified, including: a small parasphenoid beneath the basisphenoid, a tensor tympani fossa on the epitympanic wing of the squamosal, a cavum supracochleare for the geniculate ganglion of the facial nerve that is not enclosed in the petrosal bone, a secondary facial foramen between the petrosal and squamosal, a secondary posttemporal foramen leading to the primary one, a subarcuate fossa that is floored in part by a large contribution from the squamosal, a body of the incus larger than the head of the malleus, and a crus longum of the incus that lacks an osseous connection to the lenticular process. Documentation of the anatomy of the Philippine flying lemur ear region is an essential first step in morphological phylogenetic analyses where features of the basicranium are widely sampled.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract We describe the tympanic anatomy of the petrosal of Deltatherium fundaminis, an enigmatic Paleocene mammal based on cranial specimens recovered from New Mexico, U.S.A. Although the ear region of Deltatherium has previously been described, there has not been a comprehensive, well-illustrated contribution using current anatomical terminology. The dental and cranial anatomy of Deltatherium is a chimera, with morphological similarities to both ‘condylarth’ and ‘cimolestan’ taxa. As such, the phylogenetic relationships of this taxon have remained elusive since its discovery, and it has variably been associated with Arctocyonidae, Pantodonta and Tillodontia. The petrosal of Deltatherium is anteriorly bordered by an open space comprising a contiguous carotid opening and pyriform fenestra. The promontorium features both a small rostral tympanic process and small epitympanic wing but lacks well-marked sulci. A large ventral facing external aperture of the canaliculus cochleae is present and bordered posteriorly by a well-developed caudal tympanic process. The hiatus Fallopii opens on the ventral surface of the petrosal. The tegmen tympani is mediolaterally broad and anteriorly expanded, and its anterior margin is perforated by a foramen for the ramus superior of the stapedial artery. The tympanohyal is small but approximates the caudal tympanic process to nearly enclose the stylomastoid notch. The mastoid is widely exposed on the basicranium and bears an enlarged mastoid process, separate from the paraoccipital process. These new observations provide novel anatomical data corroborating previous hypotheses regarding the plesiomorphic eutherian condition but also reveal subtle differences among Paleocene eutherians that have the potential to help inform the phylogeny of Deltatherium. 
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    We describe, in unprecedented detail, the petrosals and stapes of the docodontBorealestesfrom the Middle Jurassic of Scotland, using high resolution μCTand phase‐contrast synchrotron imaging. We describe the inner ear endocast and the vascularized interior structure of the petrosal, and provide the first endocranial view of a docodontan petrosal. Our study confirms some similarities in petrosal and stapedial morphology with the better knownHaldanodonof the Late Jurassic of Portugal, including: (1) the degree of curvature of the cochlea; (2) multiple features related to the highly pneumatized paroccipital region; (3) the shape of lateral trough, the fossa of the M. tensor tympani, and the ridge on the promontorium; (4) the round shape of the fenestra vestibuli; and (5) overall morphology of the stapes. ButBorealestesdiffers fromHaldanodonin having a bony ridge that separates the tympanic opening of the prootic canal, the secondary facial foramen and the hiatus Fallopii, from the fenestra vestibuli. We identify two new vascular structures: the anterior and posterior trans‐cochlear sinuses, which traverse the pars cochlearis around the cochlear nerve (VIII). These trans‐cochlear sinuses have not been observed in previous docodont specimens, and could be an autapomorphy ofBorealestes, or apomorphic for this clade. We also establish the anatomical relationship of the circum‐promontorium plexus to the inner endocast. The high quality of our scans has made these structures visible for the first time.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract Cranial skeletal material of the Eocene palaeanodont Metacheiromys marshi was examined using high-resolution CT scans. The present study represents the first time that CT scans have been conducted on skulls of this extinct fossorial mammal. The bony osteology of the auditory region is described in detail, including the ectotympanic and entotympanic, the petrosal in both tympanic and endocranial views, and the middle ear ossicles. The results of this investigation confirm a number of derived resemblances between palaeanodonts and xenarthrans, including a large entotympanic element in the medial wall of the auditory bulla, the presence of an anteroventral process of the tegmen tympani, and a posttemporal canal. However, the present study also provides novel derived auditory features linking palaeanodonts and pangolins, consistent with current understanding of palaeanodont phylogenetic relationships, including the absence of an ectotympanic styliform process, a posterolaterally oriented aperture to the cochlear fossula, and a convex mallear head / concave incudal head. Several autapomorphic features characterizing the auditory osteology of Metacheiromys are also noted. The presence of a large, spherical mallear head, and of a capacious tympanic cavity extended into sinuses in surrounding bones, likely represent adaptations for fossoriality, consistent with palaeobiological inferences drawn from the postcranial anatomy of Metacheiromys . 
    more » « less