Independent origins of middle ear bones in monotremes and therians

Thomas H. Rich*, James A. Hopson, Anne M. Musser, Timothy F. Flannery, Patricia Vickers-Rich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


A dentary of the oldest known monotreme, the Early Cretaceous Teinolophos trusleri, has an internal mandibular trough, which in outgroups to mammals houses accessory jaw bones, and probable contact facets for angular, coronoid, and splenial bones. Certain of these accessory bones were detached from the mandible to become middle ear bones in mammals. Evidence that the angular (homologous with the mammalian ectotympanic) and the articular and prearticular (homologous with the mammalian malleus) bones retained attachment to the lower jaw in a basal monotreme indicates that the definitive mammalian middle ear evolved independently in living monotremes and therians (marsupials and placentals).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)910-914
Number of pages5
Issue number5711
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2005


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