[MARMAM] New paper on fetal and early post-natal mineralization of timpanic bulla in fin whales

Sandro Mazzariol sandro.mazzariol at unipd.it
Fri May 25 08:13:18 PDT 2012

Dear collegues,

we're pleased to announce that a new publication on fetal and early 
post-natal mineralization of timpanic bulla in fin whales is now 
available in Plos One.

Cozzi B, Podestà M, Mazzariol S, Zotti A (2012) Fetal and Early 
Post-Natal Mineralization of the Tympanic Bulla in Fin Whales May Reveal 
a Hitherto Undiscovered Evolutionary Trait. PLoS ONE 7(5): e37110. 

The evolution of the cetacean skeleton followed a path that 
differentiated this group from other terrestrial mammals about 50 
million years ago, and debate is still going on about the relationships 
between Cetacea and Artiodactyla. Some skeletal traits of the 
basilosaurids (the more advanced forms of Archaeocetes), such as the 
expansion of the peribullary air sinuses, dental modification and 
vertebral size uniformityare maintained and further emphasized also in 
contemporary odontocetes and mysticetes. Using Dual-Energy X-Ray 
Absorptiometry here we report that the deposition of bone mineral in 
fetal and newborn specimens of the fin whale/Balaenoptera physalus/is 
remarkably higher in the/bulla tympanica/than in the adjacent basal 
skull or in the rest of the skeleton. Ossification of the tympanic bulla 
in fetal Artiodactyla (bovine, hippopotamus) is minimal, becomes 
sensible after birth and then progresses during growth, contrarily to 
the precocious mineralization that we observed in fin whales. Given the 
importance of the ear bones for the precise identification of 
phylogenetic relationship in therian evolution, this feature may 
indicate a specific evolutionary trait of fin whales and possibly other 
cetacean species or families. Early mineralization of the tympanic bulla 
allows immediate sound conduction in the aquatic medium and consequently 
holds potential importance for mother-calf relationship and postnatal 

You can directly download and/or read the paper at the following address:


Best regards

Sandro Mazzariol

Dr. Sandro Mazzariol, DVM, PhD
Dipartimento di Biomedicina Comparata e Alimentazione (BCA)
Università degli Studi di Padova
AGRIPOLIS - Viale dell'Università, 16
35020 - Legnaro (PD)

tel.: +39 049 827 2963
fax:  +39 049 827 2973
e-mail: sandro.mazzariol at unipd.it

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