Research Letters

Pathologies in the Early Pliocene phocid seals from Langebaanweg, South Africa

Romala Govender, Graham Avery, Anusuya Chinsamy
South African Journal of Science | Vol 107, No 1/2 | a230 | DOI: | © 2011 Romala Govender, Graham Avery, Anusuya Chinsamy | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 April 2010 | Published: 28 January 2011

About the author(s)

Romala Govender, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Graham Avery, Iziko South African Museum, Cape Town, South Africa
Anusuya Chinsamy, University of Cape Town, South Africa

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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.


Langebaanweg; fossil seal; pathologies; arthritis; fracture


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