Rod monochromacy is a rare condition in vertebrates characterized by the absence of cone photoreceptor cells. The resulting phenotype is colourblindness and low acuity vision in dim-light and blindness in bright-light conditions. Early reports of xenarthrans (armadillos, sloths and anteaters) suggest that they are rod monochromats, but this has not been tested with genomic data. We searched the genomes of Dasypus novemcinctus (nine-banded armadillo), Choloepus hoffmanni (Hoffmann's two-toed sloth) and Mylodon darwinii (extinct ground sloth) for retinal photoreceptor genes and examined them for inactivating mutations. We performed PCR and Sanger sequencing on cone phototransduction genes of 10 additional xenarthrans to test for shared inactivating mutations and estimated the timing of inactivation for photoreceptor pseudogenes. We concluded that a stem xenarthran became an long-wavelength sensitive-cone monochromat following a missense mutation at a critical residue in SWS1, and a stem cingulate (armadillos, glyptodonts and pampatheres) and stem pilosan (sloths and anteaters) independently acquired rod monochromacy early in their evolutionary history following the inactivation of LWS and PDE6C, respectively. We hypothesize that rod monochromacy in armadillos and pilosans evolved as an adaptation to a subterranean habitat in the early history of Xenarthra. The presence of rod monochromacy has major implications for understanding xenarthran behavioural ecology and evolution.
Riostegotherium yanei from the Itaborai Basin, Brazil, is the oldest known Xenarthra. This paper aims to describe the internal morphology of the osteoderms of Riostegotherium yanei from the perspective of histology and micro-CT approaches, expanding the available data on cingulate osteoderm microstructure. Seven osteoderms of R. yanei were used for the internal microstructure description and eight of Dasypus novemcinctus for comparison. The osteoderms of Riostegotherium yanei lacks the diploe-like structure typical of glyptodonts but has a three-layered structure composed of two layers of non-Haversian compact bone enclosing a central layer of primary and secondary osteons. This internal organization is distinct from other Astegotheriini of comparable age, but similar to Dasypus. The 3D reconstruction of Riostegotherium yanei revealed two patterns of internal organization. Pattern 1 of movable osteoderm is composed of large remodeled areas at the base and a more compact bone at the tongue; in Pattern 2 (both movable and buckler), the internal cavities are much smaller, more numerous, and more interconnected to each other. In one buckler osteoderm, the cavities are organized somewhat radially with a compact central region (Pattern 1). Pattern 1 of both movable and buckler osteodenns resemble that of Dasypus.
In Argentina, Chaetophractus villosus has a wide distribution that overlaps with agricultural areas where soybean is the predominant crop. In such areas the pesticide Roundup Full II (R) (RU) is widely applied. The genotoxic effect of its active ingredient glyphosate (RU is 66.2% glyphosate) on the peripheral blood lymphocytes of C. villosus was tested over a range of concentrations (280, 420, 560, 1120 mu mol/L). Culture medium without glyphosate served as negative control, while medium containing mitomycin C served as positive control. Genetic damage was characterized in terms of the percentage of cells with chromosome aberrations (CA), the mean number of sister chromatid exchanges (SCE) per cell, and the modification of cell proliferation kinetics via the calculation of the replication index. Significant increases (p < 0.0001) were seen in the CA frequency and the mean number of SCEs per cell compared to negative controls at all the RU concentrations tested. Chromatid breaks, the only form of CA observed, under the 560 mu mol/L RU conditions and in presence of mitomycin C were four to five times more common than at lower concentrations, while no viable cells were seen in the 1120 mu mol/L treatment. The mean number of SCEs per cell was significantly higher under the 280 mu mol/L RU conditions than the 420 or 560 mu mol/L RU conditions; cells cultivated in the presence of MMC also showed significantly more SCEs. All the RU concentrations tested (except in the 1120 mu mol/L RU treatment [no viable cells]) induced a significant reduction in the replication index (p < 0.0001). The present results confirm the genotoxic effects of RU on C. villosus lymphocytes in vitro, strongly suggesting that exposure to RU could induce DNA damage in C. villosus wildlife.
The Mylodontidae Scelidotheriinae (Mammalia, Xenarthra, Tardigrada) are a diversified clade of South American fossil ground sloths, with a wide geographic distribution, especially in high and middle latitudes. According to the last revision, the Quaternary diversity includes the genera Scelidotherium, Catonyx, and Valgipes. The clade Scelidotheriinae is well represented in the Pleistocene of the Tarija-Padcaya basin, and the first mention of these ground sloths correspond to the middle of the XIX Century. Since then, several species (i.e., Scelidotherium tarijensis, Scelidodon tarijensis, Scelidotherium capellini) have been reported as inhabiting the Tarija-Padcaya basin during the Pleistocene. Despite the abundance of fossil records of Scelidotheriinae in this area, no modern taxonomic revisions are available. In consequence, in this contribution a revision of the remains assigned to Scelidotheriinae from the Tarija-Padcaya basin is accomplished, and some biostratigraphic and geographic implications are discussed. Our results show that one single species (Catonyx tarijensis) can be recognized in the studied area, whereas a supposed smaller one (Scelidotherium patrium) actually corresponds to juvenile specimens of C. tarijensis.
A set of lesions are re-described and new pathological findings in foot bones of Panochthus sp. (Xenarthra, Cingulata) are presented. The material reexamined in fact presents enthesiophytes instead of osteoartrithis, as previously interpreted. Furthermore, Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disease (CPPD) was observed, a lesion absent in previous report. CPPD also was found in another set of foot bones and it was associated with a congenital fusion of two sesamoids. The material studied were collected in two natural tank deposits, one in Paraiba (material reexamined) and other in Rio Grande do Norte (new pathological findings) State.
Arthritic lesions have been frequently diagnosed in the fossil record, with spondyloarthropathy (a type of erosive and panmammalian arthritis) being one of the most common types described to date for mammals, though not restricted to this group. Here, we identify spondyloarthropathy in fossil bones from the late Pleistocene in Brazil assignable to a large glyptodont individual. Bone erosions in the peripheral joints (viz., the ulna, radius, left femur and tibiae-fibulae) associated with osteosclerosis allow the diagnosis of spondyloarthropathy. The presence of osteophytes in seven bones of the forelimbs (viz., the ulna and radius) and hind limbs (viz., the tibiae-fibulae, left femur and patellae) and a subchondral cyst in one element (viz., the left femur) indicate secondary osteoarthritis. A calcified deposition on the articular surface of the left patella indicates the presence of calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, which, like the observed osteoarthritic alterations, likely represents a complication of spondyloarthropathy. This is the first report of spondyloarthropathy for xenarthrans.
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 with fossils, shows that crown clade Placentalia and placental orders originated after the K-Pg boundary. Many nodes discovered using molecular data are upheld, but phenomic signals overturn molecular signals to show Sundatheria (Dermoptera + Scandentia) as the sister taxon of Primates, a close link between Proboscidea (elephants) and Sirenia (sea cows), and the monophyly of echolocating Chiroptera (bats). Our tree suggests that Placentalia first split into Xenarthra and Epitheria; extinct New World species are the oldest members of Afrotheria.
Pampatheriidae are a group of cingulates native to South American that are known from the middle Miocene to the lower Holocene. Two genera have been recognized between the lower Pleistocene and the lower Holocene: Pampatherium Gervais and Ameghino (Ensenadan, Bonaerian and Lujanian, lower Pleistocene-lower Holocene) and Holmesina Simpson (Blancan, Irvingtonian, upper Pliocene-lower Holocene). They have been mainly differentiated by their osteoderm morphology and cranio-dental characters. These taxa had a wide latitudinal distribution, extending from the southern part of South America (Peninsula Valdes, Argentina) to North America (Florida, USA). In this contribution, we describe a new genus and species of Pampatheriidae for the lower and middle Pleistocene of Buenos Aires Province and for the upper Pleistocene of Santa Fe Province (Argentina). The new taxon is represented by disarticulated osteoderms, one skull element, two thoracic vertebrae and a right femur and patella. It has extremely complex osteoderm ornamentations and particular morphological characters of the cranial element and femur that are not found in any other species of the family. This new taxon, recorded in the lower-middle Pleistocene (Ensenadan Stage/Age) and in the upper Pleistocene-early Holocene (Lujanian Stage/Age), is incorporated to the Pleistocene mammal assemblage of South America. Finally, the Pampatheriidae diversity is greater during the Lujanian Stage/Age than the Ensenadan Stage/Age.
Rod monochromacy is a rare condition in vertebrates characterized by the absence of cone photoreceptor cells. The resulting phenotype is colourblindness and low acuity vision in dim-light and blindness in bright-light conditions. Early reports of xenarthrans (armadillos, sloths and anteaters) suggest that they are rod monochromats, but this has not been tested with genomic data. We searched the genomes of Dasypus novemcinctus (nine-banded armadillo), Ckoloepus hoffmanni (Hoffmann's two-toed sloth) and Mylodon darwinii (extinct ground sloth) for retinal photoreceptor genes and examined them for inactivating mutations. We performed PCR and Sanger sequencing on cone phototransduction genes of 10 additional xenarthrans to test for shared inactivating mutations and estimated the timing of inactivation for photoreceptor pseudogenes. We concluded that a stem xenarthran became an long-wavelength sensitive-cone monochromat following a missense mutation at a critical residue in SWS1, and a stem cingulate (armadillos, glyptodonts and pampatheres) and stem pilosan (sloths and anteaters) independently acquired rod monochromacy early in their evolutionary history following the inactivation of LWS and PDE6C, respectively. We hypothesize that rod monochromacy in armadillos and pilosans evolved as an adaptation to a subterranean habitat in the early history of Xenarthra. The presence of rod monochromacy has major implications for understanding xenarthran behavioural ecology and evolution.
A large diversity of Glyptodontidae has been proposed as characterizing the Chapadmalalan Age (Pliocene). Most of these taxa were recognized on the basis of partial dorsal carapaces and/or caudal tubes, whereas the main diagnostic characteristic is a particular morphology of the exposed surface of the osteoderms. From a biostratigraphic point of view some species are biostratigraphically important. The Upper Chapadmalalan is based on the Paraglyptodon chapadmalensis biozone. Both the re-evaluation of the type and referred materials and new significant findings from the Chapadmalal and El Polvorin Formations indicate that the diversity of Pliocene Glyptodontidae is more limited than previously supposed. The particular morphology of the exposed surface of the osteoderms that characterizes some of the species actually corresponds to a taphonomic alteration, which results in a non-real ornamentation pattern. Thus, the Glyptodontinae P. chapadmalensis must be replaced as a fossil guide because neither this species nor the species included in the genera Urotherium, Trachycalyptus and Lomaphorus are well characterized. Taking into account the diversity of Glyptodontidae for this lapse, the Glyptodontinae are very scarce (a situation that contrasts with its records in the Pleistocene), whereas Eosclerocalyptus, "Plohophorini" (Plohophorus) and Doedicurinae (cf. Eleutherocercus antiquus) are among the most recorded taxa.