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Evolution of the mammalian middle ear (free pdf)

Ben Creisler

A new paper in open access:

Wolfgang Maier and Irina Ruf (2015)
Evolution of the mammalian middle ear: a historical review.
Journal of Anatomy (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1111/joa.12379

Free pdf:

Here we present a brief, historical review of research into the
mammalian middle ear structures. Most of their essential homologies
were established by embryologists, notably including Reichert, during
the 19th century. The evolutionary dimension was confirmed by finds of
fossil synapsids, mainly from the Karroo of South Africa. In 1913,
Ernst Gaupp was the first to present a synthesis of the available
embryological and paleontological data, but a number of morphological
details remained to be solved, such as the origin of the tympanic
membrane. Gaupp favoured an independent origin of the eardrum in
anurans, sauropsids, and mammals; we support most of his ideas. The
present review emphasizes the problem of how the mammalian middle ear
structures that developed at the angle of the lower jaw were
transferred to the basicranium; the ontogenesis of extant marsupials
provides important information on this question.