John R. Wible

John R. Wible
Carnegie Museum Of Natural History · Mammals

PhD

About

130
Publications
57,627
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Introduction
My research is focused on the tree of life of mammals, understanding the evolutionary relationships between living and extinct taxa, and how the mammalian fauna on Earth got to be the way it is today. I use myexpertise on the anatomy of living mammals, in particular the skull, to reconstruct the lifeways of extinct mammals.
Additional affiliations
September 1998 - present
Carnegie Museum Of Natural History
Position
  • Curator
August 1989 - August 1998
University of Louisville
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
August 1985 - July 1989
University of Chicago
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
September 1977 - September 1984
Duke University
Field of study
  • Anatomy

Publications

Publications (130)
Article
Mammals are the most encephalized vertebrates, with the largest brains relative to body size. Placental mammals have particularly enlarged brains, with expanded neocortices for sensory integration, the origins of which are unclear. We used computed tomography scans of newly discovered Paleocene fossils to show that contrary to the convention that m...
Article
The petrosal and neighboring bones of the early Eocene palaeoryctid mammal Eoryctes melanus are described in tympanic and endocranial views based on CT scan data of the holotype. A second cranium of E. melanus has fragments of an osseous bulla, which have been interpreted as possibly formed by an independent entotympanic. The CT scans of the holoty...
Article
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The os paradoxum or dumb-bell-shaped bone is a paired bone occurring in the middle of the specialized bill of the platypus Ornithorhynchus anatinus. It has been variously considered as a neomorph of the platypus, as the homologue of the paired vomer of sauropsids, or as a part of the paired premaxillae. A review of the near 200-year history of this...
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The skeletal anatomy of the anterior narial region in mammals is complex, comprised of several bony and cartilaginous elements. Because it includes many cartilaginous components, preservation of this area in extant and extinct specimens is often incomplete. This, along with its complexity, means that this region of the cranium is generally understu...
Article
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To date, a complete auditory apparatus (with malleus, incus, stapes, ectotympanic, and perhaps surangular) is known for only three Mesozoic mammals, the haramiyidan Arboroharamiya allinhopsoni 1 , the multituberculate Sinobaatar pani 2 , and the zhangheotheriid Origolestes lii 3 , with subsets of these bones preserved in a handful more, including t...
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A small piece of cartilage or bone, the element of Paaw, occurs in the tendon of the stapedius muscle in some extant marsupial and placental mammals. It has been nearly a century since the last comprehensive treatment of the distribution of the element of Paaw in mammals. The current report updates knowledge on this structure by synthesizing the su...
Article
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Among extant vertebrates, mammals are distinguished by having a chain of three auditory ossicles (the malleus, incus and stapes) that transduce sound waves and promote an increased range of audible—especially high—frequencies¹. By contrast, the homologous bones in early fossil mammals and relatives also functioned in chewing through their bony atta...
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The cranium of Adalatherium hui, as represented in the holotype and only specimen (UA 9030), is only the second known for any gondwanatherian mammal, the other being that of the sudamericid Vintana sertichi. Both Adalatherium and Vintana were recovered from the Upper Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) Maevarano Formation of northwestern Madagascar. UA 9030...
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The lower jaw of the holotype of Adalatherium hui, from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar, is the most complete yet known for a gondwanatherian mammal. It reveals for the first time the morphology of the character-rich ascending ramus of the dentary in a gondwanatherian. Each half of the lower jaw is composed of only one bone, the dentary, which is...
Article
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The phylogenetic position of Gondwanatheria within Mammaliaformes has historically been controversial. The well-preserved skeleton of Adalatherium hui from the Late Cretaceous of Madagascar offers a unique opportunity to address this issue, based on morphological data from the whole skeleton. Gondwanatheria were, until recently, known only from fra...
Conference Paper
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The end-Cretaceous mass extinction, 66 million years ago, profoundly reshaped the biodiversity of our planet. After likely originating in the Cretaceous, placental mammals (species giving live birth to well-developed young) survived the extinction and quickly diversified in the ensuing Paleocene. Compared to Mesozoic species, extant placentals have...
Article
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The fossil record of mammaliaforms (mammals and their closest relatives) of the Mesozoic era from the southern supercontinent Gondwana is far less extensive than that from its northern counterpart, Laurasia1,2. Among Mesozoic mammaliaforms, Gondwanatheria is one of the most poorly known clades, previously represented by only a single cranium and is...
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The anatomy of the petrosal and associated middle ear structures are described and illustrated for the brown rat, Rattus norvegicus (Berkenhout, 1769). Although the middle ear in this iconic mammal has been treated by prior authors, there has not been a comprehensive, well-illustrated contribution using current anatomical terminology. Descriptions...
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The end‐Cretaceous mass extinction allowed placental mammals to diversify ecologically and taxonomically as they filled ecological niches once occupied by non‐avian dinosaurs and more basal mammals. Little is known, however, about how the neurosensory systems of mammals changed after the extinction, and what role these systems played in mammalian d...
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The superfamily Djadochtatherioidea is a distinctive clade of multituberculates from Upper Cretaceous beds of Mongolia and Inner Mongolia, China. Because many of the 11 included genera are known from skulls, more is known about the cranial anatomy of djadochtatherioids than any other clade of multituberculates. Within Djadochtatherioidea, the most...
Article
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Cranial skeletal material of the Eocene palaeanodont Metacheiromys marshi was examined using high-resolution CT scans. The present study represents the first time that CT scans have been conducted on skulls of this extinct fossorial mammal. The bony osteology of the auditory region is described in detail, including the ectotympanic and entotympanic...
Conference Paper
We relay the circumstances of discovery leading to, and the subsequent mechanical and digital preparation of, the holotype and only known specimen of Vintana sertichi, the cranium of a gondwanatherian mammal from the Kinkony Member of the Late Cretaceous Maeverano Formation. While the specimen was collected in 2010 within a large sample from an unu...
Book
This chapter provides an authoritative account of the phylogeny and taxonomy of fossil and extant pangolins. Historical discrepancies around the taxonomy of pangolins are discussed, notably in terms of infraordinal classification, while the respective merits of morphological and molecular analyses to solve the phylogenetic relationships among pango...
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In non-mammalian amniotes, the parasphenoid is a midline dermal element with a narrow rostral portion, the cultriform process, linked to the interorbital septum and an expanded distal portion, the alae or wings, forming part of the ventral skull base. In mammals, the parasphenoid has not been found in extant monotremes and only a handful of reports...
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Molecular estimates of the divergence of placental and marsupial mammals and their broader clades (Eutheria and Metatheria, respectively) fall primarily in the Jurassic period. Supporting these estimates, Juramaia-the oldest purported eutherian-is from the early Late Jurassic (160 million years ago) of northeastern China. Sinodelphys-the oldest pur...
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The composition of the basicranial axis has been reported in the comparative literature in numerous extant and extinct mammals. The primary components are unpaired endochondral bones: the ethmoid, presphenoid, basisphenoid, and basioccipital. Ventral to these are several dermal elements: included are the unpaired vomer, which is widely present, and...
Article
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Among the collections made during the 1896–1899 Princeton Expeditions to Patagonia are three specimens with partial crania and postcrania of Necrolestes patagonensis Ameghino, 1891, from Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. Necrolestes has anatomical specializations found in extant subterranean mammals, and other features identifying Necrolestes as a la...
Article
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The osseous elements of the foot and ankle are described and illustrated in detail for the Hispaniolan solenodon, Solenodon paradoxus Brandt, 1833, one of two extant species of the lipotyphlan family Solenodontidae. Comparisons are made with the same elements in representatives of the three remaining extant families of lipotyphlans, the soricid Cro...
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Obligate exudativory, including active wounding of bark to acquire gum and/or sap, is rare among extant mammals and does not show a consistent dental signature. A recently described Middle Jurassic docodont Agilodocodon was reconstructed as an exudativore based on proposed similarities of its lower anterior dentition to some extant New World monkey...
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A partial petrosal from the Upper Jurassic Morrison Formation of the Fruita Paleontological Area of western Colorado preserving the pars cochlearis and part of the pars canalicularis is described. The endocast of the inner ear showing the cochlea, vestibule, lateral semicircular canal, and the terminal ends of the anterior and posterior semicircula...
Article
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We present the first digital reconstruction of the endocranial cavity and endosseous labyrinth of the Late Cretaceous gondwanatherian mammal Vintana sertichi from the Maevarano Formation of Madagascar. The Malagasy specimen is exceptionally well preserved and represents the only described cranium known for Gondwanatheria, an enigmatic clade from th...
Article
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The Gondwanatheria are an enigmatic clade of Cretaceous and Paleogene mammals known from South America, Africa, Madagascar, India, and the Antarctic Peninsula. The eight valid species-each belonging to a monotypic genus and the first of which was described only 30years ago-are represented almost exclusively by isolated teeth, in addition to fragmen...
Article
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Previously known only from isolated teeth and lower jaw fragments recovered from the Cretaceous and Palaeogene of the Southern Hemisphere, the Gondwanatheria constitute the most poorly known of all major mammaliaform radiations. Here we report the discovery of the first skull material of a gondwanatherian, a complete and well-preserved cranium from...
Article
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The external and endocranial surfaces of the skull of the African palm civet, Nandinia binotata (Gray, 1830), are described and illustrated in detail based on 30 specimens (from Carnegie Museum of Natural History and American Museum of Natural History). With the inclusion of a newborn and six juveniles with deciduous dentitions, a reasonable ontoge...
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Tree-building with diverse data maximizes explanatory power. Application of molecular clock models to ancient speciation events risks a bias against detection of fast radiations subsequent to the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) event. Contrary to Springer et al., post–K-Pg placental diversification does not require “virus-like” substitution rates. Even...
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To discover interordinal relationships of living and fossil placental mammals and the time of origin of placentals relative to the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary, we scored 4541 phenomic characters de novo for 86 fossil and living species. Combining these data with molecular sequences, we obtained a phylogenetic tree that, when calibrated wit...
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The cranial osteology of the megachiropteran Pteropus Brisson, 1762, was the subject of recent study that covered all of the skull bones in significant detail, except for the anatomy of the nasal capsule. Here, we describe and illustrate the internal nasal skeleton of Pteropus lylei K. Andersen, 1908, using histological sections of a fetus and high...
Article
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Authoritative anatomical references depict domestic dogs and cats as having a malleus with a short rostral (anterior) process that is connected via a ligament to the ectotympanic of the auditory bulla. Similar mallei have been reported for representatives of each of the 15 extant families of Carnivora, the placental order containing dogs and cats....
Data
Movie of model of left malleus of adult cat, Felis catus. Model was generated in Avizo®7 from CT data provided by Sahil et al. [42]. (MOV)
Article
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The early Miocene mammal Necrolestes patagonensis from Patagonia, Argentina, was described in 1891 as the only known extinct placental "insectivore" from South America (SA). Since then, and despite the discovery of additional well-preserved material, the systematic status of Necrolestes has remained in flux, with earlier studies leaning toward plac...
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The ear region of the aardvark, Orycteropus afer (Pallas, 1766), including the auditory ossicles, is described and illustrated in detail based on five museum specimens (one from the United States National Museum and the remainder from Carnegie Museum of Natural History). Comparisons are made with the few published ear regions of extinct orycteropid...
Article
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Skull anatomy other than the ear region of the pen-tailed treeshrew, Ptilocercus lowii Gray, 1848 (Ptilocercidae), is described and illustrated in detail based on 11 specimens from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and the United States National Museum. Comparisons are made to the common treeshrew, Tupaia glis (Diard, 1820) (Tupaiidae), in a m...
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Although isolated mammalian petrosals often are encountered in the fossil record, few detailed descriptions of these bones exist for extant taxa. As a contribution to that void, isolated petrosals are described in detail for two nine-banded armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus Linnaeus, 1758, and are placed in the context of the basicranium based on an...
Article
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The skull of the Hispaniolan solenodon, Solenodon paradoxus Brandt, 1833, was described in detail by Wible (2008). Missing from that study, however, were original observations on the hyoid apparatus and ossified larynx, because appropriate specimens were not available. A specimen has come to light preserving four isolated hyoid and laryngeal bones,...
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The present study was undertaken in order to effect a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of the order Pholidota, examining seven of the eight currently recognized extant species (absent is Manis culionensis, formerly recognized as a subspecies of Manis javanica) and nearly all the well-known fossil taxa, and employing a wide range of osteological...
Article
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Maelestes gobiensis Wible et al., 2007, is the second new eutherian mammal to be named from the rich Mongolian Late Cretaceous locality of Ukhaa Tolgod, Ukhaatherium nessovi Novacek et al., 1997, being the first. Maelestes is only the seventh Late Cretaceous eutherian known from the skull and the upper and lower dentitions, and the fifth known from...
Article
The ear region of the pen-tailed treeshrew, Ptilocercus lowii Gray, 1848 (Scandentia, Ptilocercidae), is described and illustrated in detail based on five museum specimens from the National Museum of Natural History, two with the auditory bulla removed exposing the intratympanic surfaces. Soft tissues (arteries, veins, nerves, and muscles) are reco...
Article
The petrosal anatomy and inner ear structure of Jurassic cladotherian mammals represent the ancestral morphological conditions (groundplan) from which modern therian mammals (marsupials and placentals) have evolved. We present the reconstruction of the petrosal and inner ear features of the Late Jurassic dryolestoid mammal Henkelotherium guimarotae...
Article
Full-text available
The external and internal surfaces of the skull of the Hispaniolan solenodon, Solenodon paradoxus Brandt, 1833, are described and illustrated in detail based on five museum specimens (one from Carnegie Museum of Natural History, the remainder from American Museum of Natural History). Two of the specimens are juveniles that preserve sutural informat...
Article
Full-text available
Estimates of the time of origin for placental mammals from DNA studies span nearly the duration of the Cretaceous period (145 to 65 million years ago), with a maximum of 129 million years ago and a minimum of 78 million years ago. Palaeontologists too are divided on the timing. Some support a deep Cretaceous origin by allying certain middle Cretace...
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The Section of Mammals, Carnegie Museum of Natural History houses skulls from seven genera of extant lagomorphs (one ochotonid and six leporids). Described and illustrated are the external surfaces of the bones of the skull of the North American pika Ochotona princeps (Richardson, 1828) and also illustrated is the volcano rabbit Romerolagus diazi (...
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New observations on the morphology of the vomeronasal organ (VNO) of Pteronotus macleayii and P. quadridens indicate that of the six known species of the genus Pteronotus, four (parnellii, gymnonotus, macleayii, and quadridens) are endowed with a functional VNO, whereas P personatus is not, and information is lacking on the sixt species, P. davyi....
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Although detailed anatomical descriptions of skull morphology are available for representatives of many mammalian orders, no such descriptive work exists for bats, a group that comprises over 20% of extant mammalian species. In this paper, we provide a detailed description of the skull of Pteropus (Mammalia: Chiroptera: Megachiroptera: Pteropodidae...