4 October 2016 Middle ear bones of a mid-gestation ruminant foetus extracted from x-ray computed tomography
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Abstract
The timing of ossification of middle ear ossicles has been extensively studied in humans. This is an exception since it is vastly unknown in the +5000 extant species of placentals. As a preliminary approach, a cow foetus (around 115 days of gestation) was visualized using X-ray microtomography (μCT) and the ossicles including stapes, incus, and malleus could be extracted from the data set. All three bones have already undergone substantial ossification, which allow comparison to adult middle ear bones. Their ossification at this stage parallels ossification in humans at a comparable stage of gestation. While full ossification is not yet achieved almost all the morphological characters of the ossicles are observed. Bone tissue is still very porous, the stapes does not have the characteristic plate-like footplate, the lenticular process of the incus is missing and the manubrium of the malleus is very thin and not yet complete. Despite all this, the ossicles are articulate with each other and perfectly with the bony labyrinth. The stapes footplate is positioned on the oval window but is smaller than the latter while it should perfectly fit to transmit sound vibrations to the cochlea. All ossicles, especially the stapes, have not yet reached adult size, while the bony labyrinth already has. This is the first detailed description of a set of middle ear bones in a placental at mid-gestation based on high-resolution μCT. Similarities in ossification timing with humans encourage more work to be done on foetuses to understand if a general rule for placental mammals exists.
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Loic Costeur, Loic Costeur, Bastien Mennecart, Bastien Mennecart, Bert Müller, Bert Müller, Georg Schulz, Georg Schulz, } "Middle ear bones of a mid-gestation ruminant foetus extracted from x-ray computed tomography", Proc. SPIE 9967, Developments in X-Ray Tomography X, 99671Q (4 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2238119; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238119
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