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Ref ID: 37332
Ref Type: Book Section
Authors: Basilia, Pauline
Miszkiewicz, Justyna J.
Zaim, Jahdi
Rizal, Yan
Puspangingrum, Mika R.
Hascaryo, Agus Tri
Price, Gilbert J.
Louys, Julien
Title: Investigating super osteons in fossil Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) bone from Bangka Island, southeastern Sumatra
Date: 2024
Source: Quaternary Palaeontology and Archaeology of Sumatra
Abstract: Previous histological analysis of Asian forest elephant (Elephas maximus) cortical bone samples
revealed the occurrence of an atypical secondary osteon variant, which was termed as a ‘super osteon’. The area of these unusually large osteons is at least 100,000 μm2, but their other features are similar to those of typical secondary osteons. The function of these super osteons in elephant biology is unknown. Following on from the extant elephant research, this study documents super osteons in
the cortical bone of a fossil Asian elephant from Bangka Island, southeastern Sumatra, Indonesia.
The area of intact secondary osteons occurring in cortical bone was compared between humerus,
rib and vertebral samples. Less than 10% of the studied cortex surfaces were occupied by super
osteons. We identified for the first time super osteons characterised by an unusually large size, which we refer to as ‘extreme’ super osteons. The weight-bearing humerus and largely non-weight-bearing rib had similar super osteon occurrence percentages, while the vertebra had a higher percentage of super osteons. Hence, the presence and number of super osteons appear to be unrelated to bone biomechanics. It is possible that super osteons are influenced by bone homeostasis requirements. The presence of super osteons in extinct and extant elephants invites future research to investigate the link between elephants’ cortical bone histology and their biology. This study demonstrates the value of applying osteohistology to Indonesian fossil bones for furthering our understanding of mammalian palaeobiology in the region.
Editors: Louys, Julien
Albers, Paul C. H.
Van der Geer, Alexandra A. E.
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Page End: 198