Our friend, Veasta

i-6bfeeeeb679ca83851be4ead76e1e1d5-darren&mark with veasta.jpg

Hmm, how cryptic. Post to follow soon (thanks to Mark North for photo: that's him on the right). Calling all palaeo-artist friends and colleagues: please start sending me your temnospondyl images (see profile for email).


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I never heard of veasta, seems to be a resemblance to a seahorse.

And now to my real comment: Darren, in your blog post of 2006/01/pinnae-of-megazostrodon.html

You seemed to be making the assumption that the megazostodons had external ear pinnae.

I'd guess it is very unlikely that they had anything more than the barest protrusion above the normal skin surface. If the pictoral restorations show pinnae that are adjustable for directional hearing, (as in dogs), I'd disagree with them. AFAICT the mammalian pinnae are very derived from the basal condition, adjustable pinnae far more so and developed due to nocturnal niches which also resulted in specialized vibrissae. Echidnas are extant, are not semi-aquatic, so some pinnae would be expected.

Well, what do you think was the basal ( = original) condition for mammal(iform)s?

By David Marjanovi? (not verified) on 04 May 2007 #permalink

Hi David (D), thanks for the query (funny place to leave it, but never mind). As explained in the relevant blog post, I tried not to assume the presence of pinnae in Megazostrodon: based on the presence of bony features suggesting an approach to the basal mammalian condition (and features that, furthermore, appear to have allowed selective sensitivity to high-frequencies), it seems reasonable to extrapolate their presence. We're not really going to know until we have preserved soft tissues, but this seems reasonable to me and the presence of pinnae in such animals is more likely than their absence. Finally...

adjustable pinnae ... developed due to nocturnal niches which also resulted in specialized vibrissae

For all we know, your criteria were fulfilled by Megazostrodon and related forms.

For those that are curious, the blog post that David is referring to is on ver 1 here.

I'm interested in this problem, too, so I wanted to make sure I understand the question... :-)

By David Marjanović (not verified) on 05 May 2007 #permalink

(Sorry, I'm in a "war zone", not thinking much about the tets these days, hope to return later.) I came across this odd statement:

From the new "Hobbit" book by Morwood & Oosterzee pp.98-99 in the US version of the book: "Careful comparisons established that the Liang Bua hominid, now identified as an adult female, did not have an ear bone structure like that of modern humans, Indonesian H.erectus or orangutan. Instead, it most resembled those of African great apes!"

If true, it would at least possibly fit with a pattern of H erectus being generally shore based while H florensis being inland/hill based. But further fossil finds are required, one abnormal skull isn't enough. DDeden