South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353
GOVENDER, R; AVERY, G and CHINSAMY, A. Pathologies in the Early Pliocene phocid seals from Langebaanweg, South Africa. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2011, vol.107, n.1-2, pp.1-6. ISSN 1996-7489. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/sajs.v107i1/2.230.
Abundant vertebrate fossils have been recorded from the Early Pliocene locality, Langebaanweg, South Africa. This study documents the pathologies evident in the 5 million-year-old fossil phocid seal assemblage. Careful anatomical assessment of the remains revealed that 0.73% showed evidence of disease and/or trauma. The majority of the ailments were forms of osteoarthritis, although periodontitis and osteomyelitis were also evident. Some bones also showed healed fractures, suggesting that the individuals survived the traumatic event. Two cases of dental pathologies were also noted.