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  1. 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.

     
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