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On the Structures of the Dermal Ethmoid Shield of Osteolepis

  • T. Stanley Westoll (a1)


The structure of the fronto-ethmoid shield of Osteolepis macrolepidotus Ag. is described fully for the first time, and the homology of the dermal bones is discussed. The most interesting feature is the recognition of the existence of a sensory-canal bone bearing teeth in the position of the premaxillary of Tetrapods, with which it is shown to be homologous; the nomenclature of the equivalent bones suggested by Säve-Söderbergh is discussed and revised.

The presence of a continuous cosmine sheet overlying several bones is emphasized, and the problem of growth of such a combination is brought out. It is shown that the problem can be solved by extensive resorption and redeposition of cosmine, and this hitherto unnoticed change is demonstrated in a number ofOsteolepids and in some Dipnoi. The results of the resorption are to free the bones of the head from the cosmine, and thus to expose the top of the true bone ; the new characters are those usually associated with different genera, usually placed in distinct families.

Finally it is noted that the resorption involves a general chemical change affecting cosmine all over the body, which it is suggested may be due to the release of an internal secretion, the whole process of resorption and redeposition of cosmine being cyclic and almost certainly seasonal, growth being therefore a seasonal change.



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