Skates made trabeculae before mammals

Viewer’s Choice, runner-up

Micro computed tomographic (micro-CT) images of trabeculae from the vertebra of skate (left) and rat (right). In search of bone in the skeleton of skate, a cartilaginous fish thought to lack bone, micro-CT imaging revealed trabeculae that share many features with bone trabeculae of rats. Bone trabeculae function in strengthening the mammalian skeleton but skates apparently used trabeculae to strengthen their skeleton, long before mammals evolved.  The presence of trabeculae in skates provides novel insights into the evolution of bone architecture in vertebrates.


Share this story