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1 May 2006 Early Skeletal Development in Talpa europaea, the Common European Mole
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Abstract

An ontogenetic series of 22 cleared and double-stained prenatal specimens was used to study the sequence of ossification of selected postcranial skeletal elements of Talpa europaea. Results were compared with nine other therian mammals, with Alligator, Chelydra, and Lacerta as outgroups. Using the event-pairing method, shifts in the onset of ossification in T. europaea, Sus, and Homo were identified. In T. europaea, the ossification of the cervical vertebrae starts before the metatarsals. In Homo and Sus, the tarsals ossify before the pubic bone. These shifts in the sequence of ossification are unique among the mammals examined, whereas many other changes, characterising monophyletic groups and/or evolving convergently, were also identified. Particular attention was given to some peculiar calcified elements of the hand in T. europaea, which were identified as accessory ‘sesamoid bones’, and do not display a chondrified precursor. They start to calcify before all others of the hand and later fuse. They appear in all fingers and function as reinforcement for the distal phalanges, most likely as an adaptation for burrowing. The development of the sesamoid bones was examined using histological sections and macerated adults.

Jan Prochel "Early Skeletal Development in Talpa europaea, the Common European Mole," Zoological Science 23(5), 427-434, (1 May 2006). https://doi.org/10.2108/zsj.23.427
Received: 6 January 2006; Accepted: 1 March 2006; Published: 1 May 2006
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