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Descriptive Anatomy and Three-Dimensional Reconstruction of the Skull of the Early Tetrapod Acanthostega gunnari Jarvik, 1952

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0118882
Number of pages32
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume10
Issue number3
DOIs
DateAccepted/In press - 23 Jan 2015
DatePublished (current) - 11 Mar 2015

Abstract

The early tetrapod Acanthostega gunnari is an iconic fossil taxon exhibiting skeletal morphology reflecting the transition of vertebrates from water onto land. Computed tomography data of two Acanthostega skulls was segmented using visualization software to digitally separate bone from matrix and individual bones of the skull from each other. A revised description of cranial and lower jaw anatomy in this taxon based on CT data includes new details of sutural morphology, the previously undescribed quadrate and articular bones, and the mandibular symphysis. Sutural morphology is used to infer loading regime in the skull during feeding, and suggests Acanthostega used its anterior jaws to initially seize prey while smaller posterior teeth were used to restrain struggling prey during ingestion. Novel methods were used to repair and retrodeform the skull, resulting in a three-dimensional digital reconstruction that features a longer postorbital region and more strongly hooked anterior lower jaw than previous attempts while supporting the presence of a midline gap between the nasals and median rostrals.

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    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Public Library of Science at http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0118882. Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

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