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"Laurin, Michel"

Dumont, Maitena; Laurin, Michel; Jacques, Florian; Pellé, Eric; Dabin, Willy; Buffrénil, Vivian de (detail)
Inner architecture of vertebral centra in terrestrial and aquatic mammals: a two-dimensional comparative study.
Jour. Morphol. 274(5): 570-584. Illus. + online supporting information. DOI: 10.1002/jmor.20122 May 2013 (publ. online Feb. 8, 2013).
–ABSTRACT: Inner vertebral architecture is poorly known, except in human and laboratory animals. In order to document this topic at a broad comparative level, a 2D-histomorphometric study of vertebral centra was conducted in a sample of 98 therian mammal species, spanning most of the size range and representing the main locomotor adaptations known in therian taxa. Eleven variables relative to the development and geometry of trabecular networks were extracted from CT scan mid-sagittal sections. Phylogeny-informed statistical tests were used to reveal the respective influences of phylogeny, size, and locomotion adaptations on mammalian vertebral structure. The use of random taxon reshuffling and squared change parsimony reveals that 9 of the 11 characteristics (the two exceptions are total sectional area and structural polarization) contain a phylogenetic signal. Linear discriminant analyses suggest that the sampled taxa can be arranged into three categories with respect to locomotion mode: a) terrestrial + flying + digging + amphibious forms, b) coastal oscillatory aquatic taxa, and c) pelagic oscillatory aquatic forms represented by oceanic cetaceans. Pairwise comparison tests and linear regressions show that, when specific size increases, the length of trabecular network (Tt.Tb.Le), as well as trabecular proliferation in total sections (Pr.Tb.Tt), increase with positive allometry. This process occurs in all locomotion categories but is particularly pronounced in pelagic oscillators. Conversely, mean trabecular width has a lesser increase with size in pelagic oscillators. Trabecular orientation is not influenced by size. All tests were corrected for multiple testing. By using six structural variables or indices, locomotion mode can be predicted with a 97.4% success rate for terrestrial forms, 66.7% for coastal oscillatory, and 81.3% for pelagic oscillatory. The possible functional meaning of these results and their potential use for paleobiological inference of locomotion in extinct taxa are discussed.
Amson, Eli; de Muizon, Christian; Laurin, Michel; Argot, Christine; de Buffrénil, Vivian (detail)
Gradual adaptation of bone structure to aquatic lifestyle in extinct sloths from Peru.
Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281(1782). DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.0192. March 12, 2014.
–ABSTRACT: Non-pathological densification (osteosclerosis) and swelling (pachyostosis) of bones are the main modifications affecting the skeleton of land vertebrates (tetrapods) that returned to water. However, a precise temporal calibration of the acquisition of such adaptations is still wanting. Here, we assess the timing of such acquisition using the aquatic sloth Thalassocnus, from the Neogene of the Pisco Formation, Peru. This genus is represented by five species occurring in successive vertebrate-bearing horizons of distinct ages. It yields the most detailed data about the gradual acquisition of aquatic adaptations among tetrapods, in displaying increasing osteosclerosis and pachyostosis through time. Such modifications, reflecting a shift in the habitat from terrestrial to aquatic, occurred over a short geological time span (ca 4 Myr). Otherwise, the bones of terrestrial pilosans (sloths and anteaters) are much more compact than the mean mammalian condition, which suggests that the osteosclerosis of Thalassocnus may represent an exaptation.
Canoville, Aurore; Buffrénil, Vivian de; Laurin, Michel (detail)
Microanatomical diversity of amniote ribs: an exploratory quantitative study.
Biol. Jour. Linnean Soc. 118(4): 706-733. 4 tabs. 11 figs. Aug. 2016 (publ. online June 30, 2016).
–ABSTRACT: Bone microanatomical diversity in extant and extinct tetrapods has been studied extensively, using increasingly sophisticated quantitative methods to assess its ecological, biomechanical and phylogenetic significance. Most studies have been conducted on the appendicular skeleton, and a strong relationship was found between limb bone microanatomy and habitat preferences. Few comparative studies have focused on the microanatomy of the axial skeleton and its ecological signal. In the present study, we propose the first exploratory study of the microanatomical diversity of amniote ribs. Our comparative sample comprises 155 species of extant amniotes and encompasses the taxonomic, ecological, and body size diversity of this group. We standardized our sampling location to the midshaft of mid-dorsal ribs. Transverse sections were obtained from classical petrographic methods, as well as by X-ray microtomography. Most of the microanatomical and size characters of the ribs display a phylogenetic signal, which is an expected result and is also observed in amniote limb bones and vertebrae. We found a significant relationship between rib cortical thickness, global compactness, and lifestyle. As for the vertebrae, the development of the spongiosa in the medullary region appears to be strongly correlated with size. Even though an ecological signal was found in the inner structure of the ribs, additional work is needed to document the intra-individual variability of the rib microanatomy along the rib cage and within a single element.

Daryl P. Domning, Research Associate, Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 20560, and Laboratory of Evolutionary Biology, Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine, Howard University, Washington, D.C. 20059.
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