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

  • Romala Govender University of Cape Town
  • Graham Avery Iziko South African Museum, Cape Town
  • Anusuya Chinsamy University of Cape Town
Keywords: Langebaanweg, fossil seal, pathologies, arthritis, fracture


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.

Author Biography

Graham Avery, Iziko South African Museum, Cape Town
University of Cape Town, South Africa


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