Morphology of the petrosal and stapes of Borealestes (Mammaliaformes, Docodonta) from the Middle Jurassic of Skye, Scotland

Elsa Panciroli, Julia A. Schultz, Zhe Xi Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We describe, in unprecedented detail, the petrosals and stapes of the docodont Borealestes from the Middle Jurassic of Scotland, using high resolution μCT and phase-contrast synchrotron imaging. We describe the inner ear endocast and the vascularized interior structure of the petrosal, and provide the first endocranial view of a docodontan petrosal. Our study confirms some similarities in petrosal and stapedial morphology with the better known Haldanodon of the Late Jurassic of Portugal, including: (1) the degree of curvature of the cochlea; (2) multiple features related to the highly pneumatized paroccipital region; (3) the shape of lateral trough, the fossa of the M. tensor tympani, and the ridge on the promontorium; (4) the round shape of the fenestra vestibuli; and (5) overall morphology of the stapes. But Borealestes differs from Haldanodon in having a bony ridge that separates the tympanic opening of the prootic canal, the secondary facial foramen and the hiatus Fallopii, from the fenestra vestibuli. We identify two new vascular structures: the anterior and posterior trans-cochlear sinuses, which traverse the pars cochlearis around the cochlear nerve (VIII). These trans-cochlear sinuses have not been observed in previous docodont specimens, and could be an autapomorphy of Borealestes, or apomorphic for this clade. We also establish the anatomical relationship of the circum-promontorium plexus to the inner endocast. The high quality of our scans has made these structures visible for the first time.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPapers in palaeontology
Early online date31 Aug 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Aug 2018


  • Borealestes
  • docodont
  • endocast
  • inner ear
  • Mammaliaformes
  • petrosal


Dive into the research topics of 'Morphology of the petrosal and stapes of Borealestes (Mammaliaformes, Docodonta) from the Middle Jurassic of Skye, Scotland'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this