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Reptile-like physiology in Early Jurassic stem-mammals

Reptile-like physiology in Early Jurassic stem-mammals
Reptile-like physiology in Early Jurassic stem-mammals
Despite considerable advances in knowledge of the anatomy, ecology and evolution of early mammals, far less is known about their physiology. Evidence is contradictory concerning the timing and fossil groups in which mammalian endothermy arose. To determine the state of metabolic evolution in two of the earliest stem-mammals, the Early Jurassic Morganucodon and Kuehneotherium, we use separate proxies for basal and maximum metabolic rate. Here we report, using synchrotron X-ray tomographic imaging of incremental tooth cementum, that they had maximum lifespans considerably longer than comparably sized living mammals, but similar to those of reptiles, and so they likely had reptilian-level basal metabolic rates. Measurements of femoral nutrient foramina show Morganucodon had blood flow rates intermediate between living mammals and reptiles, suggesting maximum metabolic rates increased evolutionarily before basal metabolic rates. Stem mammals lacked the elevated endothermic metabolism of living mammals, highlighting the mosaic nature of mammalian physiological evolution.
2041-1723
Newham, Elis Charles David
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Gill, Pamela G.
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Brewer, Philippa
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Benton, Michael J.
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Fernandez, Vincent
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Gostling, Neil J.
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Haberthür, David
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Jernvall, Jukka
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Kankaanpää, Tuomas
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Kallonen, Aki
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Navarro, Charles
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Pacureanu, Alexandra
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Richards, Kelly R.
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Brown, Kate Robson
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Schneider, Philipp
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Suhonen, Heikki
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Tafforeau, Paul
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Williams, Katherine
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Zeller-Plumhoff, Berit
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Corfe, Ian J.
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Newham, Elis Charles David
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Gill, Pamela G.
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Brewer, Philippa
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Benton, Michael J.
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Fernandez, Vincent
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Gostling, Neil J.
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Haberthür, David
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Jernvall, Jukka
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Kankaanpää, Tuomas
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Kallonen, Aki
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Navarro, Charles
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Pacureanu, Alexandra
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Richards, Kelly R.
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Brown, Kate Robson
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Schneider, Philipp
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Suhonen, Heikki
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Tafforeau, Paul
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Williams, Katherine
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Zeller-Plumhoff, Berit
19e8c433-4ffc-4a38-8ed5-4549117c02cb
Corfe, Ian J.
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Newham, Elis Charles David, Gill, Pamela G., Brewer, Philippa, Benton, Michael J., Fernandez, Vincent, Gostling, Neil J., Haberthür, David, Jernvall, Jukka, Kankaanpää, Tuomas, Kallonen, Aki, Navarro, Charles, Pacureanu, Alexandra, Richards, Kelly R., Brown, Kate Robson, Schneider, Philipp, Suhonen, Heikki, Tafforeau, Paul, Williams, Katherine, Zeller-Plumhoff, Berit and Corfe, Ian J. (2020) Reptile-like physiology in Early Jurassic stem-mammals. Nature Communications, 11 (1), [5121]. (doi:10.1038/s41467-020-18898-4).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Despite considerable advances in knowledge of the anatomy, ecology and evolution of early mammals, far less is known about their physiology. Evidence is contradictory concerning the timing and fossil groups in which mammalian endothermy arose. To determine the state of metabolic evolution in two of the earliest stem-mammals, the Early Jurassic Morganucodon and Kuehneotherium, we use separate proxies for basal and maximum metabolic rate. Here we report, using synchrotron X-ray tomographic imaging of incremental tooth cementum, that they had maximum lifespans considerably longer than comparably sized living mammals, but similar to those of reptiles, and so they likely had reptilian-level basal metabolic rates. Measurements of femoral nutrient foramina show Morganucodon had blood flow rates intermediate between living mammals and reptiles, suggesting maximum metabolic rates increased evolutionarily before basal metabolic rates. Stem mammals lacked the elevated endothermic metabolism of living mammals, highlighting the mosaic nature of mammalian physiological evolution.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 11 September 2020
Published date: 12 October 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444398
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444398
ISSN: 2041-1723
PURE UUID: d90667d1-2cca-4dd0-b176-df7c4c43f22c
ORCID for Neil J. Gostling: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5960-7769
ORCID for Philipp Schneider: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7499-3576
ORCID for Katherine Williams: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6827-9261

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 16 Oct 2020 16:31
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 03:18

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Contributors

Author: Elis Charles David Newham
Author: Pamela G. Gill
Author: Philippa Brewer
Author: Michael J. Benton
Author: Vincent Fernandez
Author: David Haberthür
Author: Jukka Jernvall
Author: Tuomas Kankaanpää
Author: Aki Kallonen
Author: Charles Navarro
Author: Alexandra Pacureanu
Author: Kelly R. Richards
Author: Kate Robson Brown
Author: Heikki Suhonen
Author: Paul Tafforeau
Author: Berit Zeller-Plumhoff
Author: Ian J. Corfe

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