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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

Identification of the broad ligament (ligamentum latum uteri).a) The broad ligament in the fossil mare from the Grube Messel. Sacrum and lumbar vertebrae (L6-7) belong to the mare. Not to scale.—Micro-x-ray: Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt, Jörg Habersetzer.–b) Position and morphology of the broad ligament (ligamentum latum uteri) attaching the uterine horn containing the fetus to the lumbar vertebrae and the pelvis of a modern horse (from Benesch 1957).
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pone.0137985.g006: Identification of the broad ligament (ligamentum latum uteri).a) The broad ligament in the fossil mare from the Grube Messel. Sacrum and lumbar vertebrae (L6-7) belong to the mare. Not to scale.—Micro-x-ray: Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt, Jörg Habersetzer.–b) Position and morphology of the broad ligament (ligamentum latum uteri) attaching the uterine horn containing the fetus to the lumbar vertebrae and the pelvis of a modern horse (from Benesch 1957).

Mentions: The micro-x-ray shows a conspicuous grey shadow between the fetus and the lumbar vertebrae of the mare (Fig 6a). The shadow is partially dispersed into stripes, which run parallel to one another and frame longitudinally elongated holes. Their structure points dorsocaudally to maternal lumbar vertebrae 4–7. In its morphology and position the structure corresponds closely to the broad ligament (ligamentum latum uteri) of recent mares of Equus caballus (Fig 6b), where it attaches the uterine horn to the lumbar vertebrae and the pelvis [11]. We can eliminate the possibility that the structure is an artefact of the preparation [12]. An alternative interpretation as abdominal muscle can be excluded because of different position and direction. The musculus transversus abdominis extends in vertical direction from the lumbar vertebrae and the pelvis down to the ventral midline of the abdomen, whereas the musculus obliquus abdominis stretches from the tuber coxae to the last rib and rib cartilage.


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

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

Identification of the broad ligament (ligamentum latum uteri).a) The broad ligament in the fossil mare from the Grube Messel. Sacrum and lumbar vertebrae (L6-7) belong to the mare. Not to scale.—Micro-x-ray: Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt, Jörg Habersetzer.–b) Position and morphology of the broad ligament (ligamentum latum uteri) attaching the uterine horn containing the fetus to the lumbar vertebrae and the pelvis of a modern horse (from Benesch 1957).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0137985.g006: Identification of the broad ligament (ligamentum latum uteri).a) The broad ligament in the fossil mare from the Grube Messel. Sacrum and lumbar vertebrae (L6-7) belong to the mare. Not to scale.—Micro-x-ray: Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut Frankfurt, Jörg Habersetzer.–b) Position and morphology of the broad ligament (ligamentum latum uteri) attaching the uterine horn containing the fetus to the lumbar vertebrae and the pelvis of a modern horse (from Benesch 1957).
Mentions: The micro-x-ray shows a conspicuous grey shadow between the fetus and the lumbar vertebrae of the mare (Fig 6a). The shadow is partially dispersed into stripes, which run parallel to one another and frame longitudinally elongated holes. Their structure points dorsocaudally to maternal lumbar vertebrae 4–7. In its morphology and position the structure corresponds closely to the broad ligament (ligamentum latum uteri) of recent mares of Equus caballus (Fig 6b), where it attaches the uterine horn to the lumbar vertebrae and the pelvis [11]. We can eliminate the possibility that the structure is an artefact of the preparation [12]. An alternative interpretation as abdominal muscle can be excluded because of different position and direction. The musculus transversus abdominis extends in vertical direction from the lumbar vertebrae and the pelvis down to the ventral midline of the abdomen, whereas the musculus obliquus abdominis stretches from the tuber coxae to the last rib and rib cartilage.

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