June 1969
Vol. 02, Fasc. 4
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Print ISSN: 0031-0247
Online ISSN: 2274-0333
Frequency: biannual

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Palaeovertebrata Vol. 02, Fasc. 4:June 1969

Table of contents


Osteology of Prolagus sardus, a Quaternary Ochotonid (Mammalia, Lagomorpha).
Mary R. Dawson
Keywords: Lagomorpha; Ochotonidae; Prolagus

doi: 10.18563/pv.2.4.157-190

    Prolagus sardus is the last representative of the diverse lineages of European endemic ochotonids. It is also the most abundant in the collections. The previous studies made of this species have established rather well its dental morphology, its phylogenetic position, its geographic and temporal distribution, and its intraspecific individual variation. On the other hand, no osteologic study has fully utilized the superb material from Corsica and Sardinia  collected by Forsyth Major.
    Nearly all of the parts of the skeleton are represented in this material; they are here described and figured. Comparisons are made with Ochotona, the only surviving genus of the family, as well as with the living leporids, in particular Romerolagus, Oryctolagus and Lepus. A brief examination of the dentition reveals some particular characters of the incisors. The osteologic study allows limited interpretations to be advanced concerning the posture, mastication. locomotion and some other adaptive features of P. sardus.
    P. sardus appears as an incontestable ochotonid, but it differs from Ochotona by some characters which are found in leporids. Certain of the characters are here judged primitive for lagomorphs. The genus Ochotona therefore can no longer be considered as the image of a primitive lagomorph, because in spite of the lack of cursorial adaptations which differentiate it from leporids, it presents other specializations which are common to it alone. 

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