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Clement et al. (2022) Morphometric Analysis of Lungfish Endocasts Elucidates Early Dipnoan Palaeoneurological Evolution Project ID: 000381944 Public
10 Media · 6 Specimens · Creator: Clement, Alice · Managed by: Alice CLEMENT

Lungfish (Dipnoi) are lobe-finned fish (Sarcopterygii) that have persisted for over 400 million years from the Devonian Period to present day. They are the extant sister group to tetrapods and thus have the ability to provide unique insight into the condition of the earliest tetrapods as well as their own evolutionary history. The evolution of their dermal skull and dentition is relatively well understood, but this is not the case for the central nervous system. While the brain itself has very poor preservation potential and is not currently known in any fossil lungfish, substantial indirect information about it and associated structures such as the inner ears can be obtained from the cranial endocast. However, before the recent development of X-ray tomography as a palaeontological tool, these endocasts could not be studied non-destructively, and few detailed studies were undertaken. Here we describe and illustrate the endocasts of six Palaeozoic lungfishes (Iowadipterus halli, Gogodipterus paddyensis, Pillararhynchus longi, Griphognathus whitei, Orlovichthys limnatis, and Rhinodipterus ulrichi) from tomographic scans. We combine these with six previously described lungfish endocasts (4 fossil and 2 recent taxa), also based on tomographic studies, into a 12-taxon data set for multivariate morphometric analysis using 17 variables. We find that the olfactory region appears to be more highly plastic than the hindbrain, and undergoes significant elongation in several taxa. Further, while the semicircular canals covary as an integrated module, the utriculus and sacculus of the inner ear instead vary independently of each other. The functional and phylogenetic implications of our findings are discussed.

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  ID Part Object Taxonomy Type Date Added Publication Status  
000493605 Cranial endocast wam:palaeontology:09.6.149 Rhinodipterus kimberleyensis Mesh 2023-01-23 Restricted Download  
000382702 Cranial endocast esrf:P6609a Rhinodipterus ulrichi Mesh 2021-09-12 Restricted Download  
000382699 Cranial endocast FMNH:PF:12323 Iowadipterus halli Mesh 2021-09-12 Restricted Download  
000382696 Cranial endocast wam:palaeontology:70.4.250 Gogodipterus paddyensis Mesh 2021-09-12 Restricted Download  
000382693 Cranial endocast anu:49196 Pillararhynchus longi Mesh 2021-09-12 Restricted Download  
000382063 Nodule containing head and anterior elements esrf:P6609a Rhinodipterus ulrichi CT Image Series 2021-09-07 Restricted Download  
000381942 Nodule containing head and anterior elements FMNH:PF:12323 Iowadipterus halli CT Image Series 2021-09-07 Restricted Download  
000381936 Block "C" zmb:h:12875 Chirodipterus sp. CT Image Series 2021-09-06 Restricted Download  
000381888 Neurocranium wam:palaeontology:70.4.250 Gogodipterus paddyensis CT Image Series 2021-09-06 Restricted Download  
000381631 Skull anu:49196 Pillararhynchus longi CT Image Series 2021-09-02 Restricted Download  
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