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A reconstruction of the Vienna skull of Hadropithecus stenognathus
- Ryan, T.M., Burney, D.A., Godfrey, L.R., Göhlich, U.B., Jungers, W.L., Vasey, N., Ramilisonina, Walker, A., Weber, G.W.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2008 v.105 no.31 pp. 10699-10702
- Lemuridae, biomechanics, computed tomography, image analysis, skeleton, skull, teeth, Austria, Madagascar
- Franz Sikora found the first specimen and type of the recently extinct Hadropithecus stenognathus in Madagascar in 1899 and sent it to Ludwig Lorenz von Liburnau of the Austrian Imperial Academy of Sciences. Later, he sent several more specimens including a subadult skull that was described by Lorenz von Liburnau in 1902. In 2003, some of us excavated at the locality and found more specimens belonging to this species, including much of a subadult skeleton. Two frontal fragments were found, and these, together with most of the postcranial bones, belong to the skull. CT scans of the skull and other jaw fragments were made in Vienna and those of the frontal fragments at Penn State University. The two fragments have been reunited with the skull in silico, and broken parts from one side of the skull have been replaced virtually by mirror-imaged complete parts from the other side. The parts of the jaw of another individual of a slightly younger dental age have also been reconstructed virtually from CT scans with mirror imaging and by using the maxillary teeth and temporomandibular joints as a guide to finish the reconstruction. Apart from forming a virtual skull for biomechanical and systematic analysis, we were also able to make a virtual endocast. Missing anterior pieces were reconstructed by using part of an endocast of the related Archaeolemur majori. The volume is 115 ml. Hadropithecus and Archaeolemur seem to have had relatively large brains compared with the other large-bodied subfossil lemurs.