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Description of a Well Preserved Fetus of the European Eocene Equoid Eurohippus messelensis.

Franzen JL, Aurich C, Habersetzer J - PLoS ONE (2015)

Bottom Line: The postcranial fetal skeleton is almost complete and largely articulated, allowing the conclusion that the pregnant mare was in late gestation.The apparent intrauterine position of the fetus is normal for the phase of pregnancy.Death of mare and fetus were probably not related to problems associated with parturition.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department Messelforschung, Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Department Geowissenschaften, Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
The early Middle Eocene locality of Grube Messel, near Darmstadt (Germany), is famous for its complete vertebrate skeletons. The degree of preservation of soft tissues, such as body silhouettes, internal organs and gut contents, is frequently remarkable. The present specimen was analyzed for remnants of the reproductive system. Classic anatomy and osteology and high-resolution micro-x-ray were applied to describe the fetus of the European Eocene equoid Eurohippus messelensis. Scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) was used for determination of soft tissue remnants. The fetus is the earliest and best-preserved fossil specimen of its kind. The postcranial fetal skeleton is almost complete and largely articulated, allowing the conclusion that the pregnant mare was in late gestation. The apparent intrauterine position of the fetus is normal for the phase of pregnancy. Death of mare and fetus were probably not related to problems associated with parturition. Soft tissue interpreted as the uteroplacenta and a broad uterine ligament are preserved due to bacterial activity and allow considerations on the evolutionary development of the structures.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

a) Occlusal surface of the last upper deciduous premolar (dP4) of the right side seen from its mesiolingual corner. b) Buccal aspect of the right dP1.Scale of a and b = 5 mm.—Photo: Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt, Sven Tränkner.
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pone.0137985.g005: a) Occlusal surface of the last upper deciduous premolar (dP4) of the right side seen from its mesiolingual corner. b) Buccal aspect of the right dP1.Scale of a and b = 5 mm.—Photo: Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt, Sven Tränkner.

Mentions: Most of the deciduous teeth are visible only on the micro-x-ray because they are covered by the right ilium of the mare. Even here their contours are vague, so that details cannot be determined (Fig 4). A right upper deciduous premolar appears caudally behind the maternal ilium (Fig 5a). It displays an occlusal pattern consisting of parastyle, paracone, paraconule, protocone, metaconule and hypocone. The metacone is covered by the right ilium of the mare and not visible. The size and arrangement of these cusps indicate a right dP4. Contrasting with dP3, the mesiolingual corner of dP4 does not retreat and the parastyle does not protrude in mesial direction. The fragment of another deciduous tooth lies craniodorsally to the dP4 and outside the maternal ilium (Fig 5b); we interpret it as right dP1. It displays a convex buccal wall, which shows one main cuspid. Distal to this is a postcristid that ends at the longitudinally short talonid, followed distally by a tiny tip of the cingulid. The buccal wall is near its base surrounded by a vestigial ectocingulid, which ends mesially in a tiny tuberculid. The tooth is biradicular. Seen from the buccal side, both roots are diverging and stick still in their alveoles.


Description of a Well Preserved Fetus of the European Eocene Equoid Eurohippus messelensis.

Franzen JL, Aurich C, Habersetzer J - PLoS ONE (2015)

a) Occlusal surface of the last upper deciduous premolar (dP4) of the right side seen from its mesiolingual corner. b) Buccal aspect of the right dP1.Scale of a and b = 5 mm.—Photo: Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt, Sven Tränkner.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4622040&req=5

pone.0137985.g005: a) Occlusal surface of the last upper deciduous premolar (dP4) of the right side seen from its mesiolingual corner. b) Buccal aspect of the right dP1.Scale of a and b = 5 mm.—Photo: Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt, Sven Tränkner.
Mentions: Most of the deciduous teeth are visible only on the micro-x-ray because they are covered by the right ilium of the mare. Even here their contours are vague, so that details cannot be determined (Fig 4). A right upper deciduous premolar appears caudally behind the maternal ilium (Fig 5a). It displays an occlusal pattern consisting of parastyle, paracone, paraconule, protocone, metaconule and hypocone. The metacone is covered by the right ilium of the mare and not visible. The size and arrangement of these cusps indicate a right dP4. Contrasting with dP3, the mesiolingual corner of dP4 does not retreat and the parastyle does not protrude in mesial direction. The fragment of another deciduous tooth lies craniodorsally to the dP4 and outside the maternal ilium (Fig 5b); we interpret it as right dP1. It displays a convex buccal wall, which shows one main cuspid. Distal to this is a postcristid that ends at the longitudinally short talonid, followed distally by a tiny tip of the cingulid. The buccal wall is near its base surrounded by a vestigial ectocingulid, which ends mesially in a tiny tuberculid. The tooth is biradicular. Seen from the buccal side, both roots are diverging and stick still in their alveoles.

Bottom Line: The postcranial fetal skeleton is almost complete and largely articulated, allowing the conclusion that the pregnant mare was in late gestation.The apparent intrauterine position of the fetus is normal for the phase of pregnancy.Death of mare and fetus were probably not related to problems associated with parturition.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department Messelforschung, Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Department Geowissenschaften, Naturhistorisches Museum Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
The early Middle Eocene locality of Grube Messel, near Darmstadt (Germany), is famous for its complete vertebrate skeletons. The degree of preservation of soft tissues, such as body silhouettes, internal organs and gut contents, is frequently remarkable. The present specimen was analyzed for remnants of the reproductive system. Classic anatomy and osteology and high-resolution micro-x-ray were applied to describe the fetus of the European Eocene equoid Eurohippus messelensis. Scanning electronic microscopy (SEM) was used for determination of soft tissue remnants. The fetus is the earliest and best-preserved fossil specimen of its kind. The postcranial fetal skeleton is almost complete and largely articulated, allowing the conclusion that the pregnant mare was in late gestation. The apparent intrauterine position of the fetus is normal for the phase of pregnancy. Death of mare and fetus were probably not related to problems associated with parturition. Soft tissue interpreted as the uteroplacenta and a broad uterine ligament are preserved due to bacterial activity and allow considerations on the evolutionary development of the structures.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus