Report

Independent Origins of Middle Ear Bones in Monotremes and Therians

Science  11 Feb 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5711, pp. 910-914
DOI: 10.1126/science.1105717

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Abstract

A dentary of the oldest known monotreme, the Early Cretaceous Teinolophos trusleri, has an internal mandibular trough, which in outgroups to mammals houses accessory jaw bones, and probable contact facets for angular, coronoid, and splenial bones. Certain of these accessory bones were detached from the mandible to become middle ear bones in mammals. Evidence that the angular (homologous with the mammalian ectotympanic) and the articular and prearticular (homologous with the mammalian malleus) bones retained attachment to the lower jaw in a basal monotreme indicates that the definitive mammalian middle ear evolved independently in living monotremes and therians (marsupials and placentals).

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