Development of the Skull of the Pantropical Spotted Dolphin (Stenella attenuata)

Meghan M. Moran, Sirpa Nummela, J.G.M. Thewissen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


    We describe the bony and cartilaginous structures of five fetal skulls
    of Stenella attenuata (pantropical spotted dolphin) specimens. The specimens
    represent early fetal life as suggested by the presence of rostral tactile
    hairs and the beginnings of skin pigmentation. These specimens
    exhibit the developmental order of ossification of the intramembranous
    and endochondral elements of the cranium as well as the functional and
    morphological development of specific cetacean anatomical adaptations.
    Detailed observations are presented on telescoping, nasal anatomy, and
    middle ear anatomy. The development of the middle ear ossicles, ectotympanic
    bone, and median nasal cartilage is of interest because in the adult
    these structures are morphologically different from those in land mammals.
    We follow specific cetacean morphological characteristics through
    fetal development to provide insight into the form and function of the
    cetacean body plan. Combining these data with fossil evidence, it is possible
    to overlie ontogenetic patterns and discern evolutionary patterns of
    the cetacean skull. Anat Rec, 294:1743–1756, 2011. VVC 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalAnatomical Record
    Issue number10
    Pages (from-to)1743–1756
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2011
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fields of Science

    • 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
    • cranial development; Stenella attenuata; telescoping;

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