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PLoS One. 2010 Dec 31;5(12):e15817. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015817.

Body shape and life style of the extinct Balearic dormouse Hypnomys (Rodentia, Gliridae): new evidence from the study of associated skeletons.

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  • 1Departament de Biodiversitat i Conservació, Institut Mediterrani d'Estudis Avançats, Esporles, Spain.


Hypnomys is a genus of Gliridae (Rodentia) that occurred in the Balearic Islands until Late Holocene. Recent finding of a complete skeleton of the chronospecies H. morpheus (Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene) and two articulated skeletons of H. cf. onicensis (Late Pliocene) allowed the inference of body size and the calculation of several postcranial indexes. We also performed a Factorial Discriminant Analysis (FDA) in order to evaluate locomotory behaviour and body shape of the taxa. Using allometric models based on skull and tooth measurements, we calculated a body weight between 173 and 284 g for H. morpheus, and direct measurements of articulated skeletons yielded a Head and Body Length (HBL) of 179 mm and a Total Body Length of 295 mm for this species. In addition to the generally higher robustness of postcranial bones already recorded by previous authors, H. morpheus, similar to Canariomys tamarani, another extinct island species, displayed elongated zygopodium bones of the limbs and a wider distal humerus and femur than in an extant related taxon, Eliomys quercinus. Indexes indicated that Hypnomys was more terrestrial and had greater fossorial abilities than E. quercinus. This was also corroborated by a Discriminant Analysis, although no clear additional inference of locomotory abilities could be calculated.

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