Title page for ETD etd-12082009-111044

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Hornsveld, Marius
URN etd-12082009-111044
Document Title The osteology of the cranial and facial bornes of the savannah buffalo Syncerus caffer caffer (Sparrman, 1779)
Degree PhD
Department Anatomy
Advisor Name Title
Prof N J van der Merwe Supervisor
  • savannah buffalo
  • Syncerus caffer caffer
  • cranial and facial bornes
  • osteology
Date 2002-08-05
Availability unrestricted

Zoologists classify the savannah buffalo under the Bovini Tribe. Osteologically, the skull differs from that of the water buffalo of Asia, inter alia, in that the vomer does not articulate with the palatine part of the osseus palate. This gross anatomical study gives a detailed description of all the bones of the skull, mandible and hyoid apparatus of the savannah buffalo Syncerus caffer caffer (Sparrman, 1779). These bones are similar in many respects to that of the domestic bovine. However, due to the robustness of the buffalo skull, many aspects pertaining to bones or parts of bones that are different or more pronounced, are of anatomical importance. The sum-total effect of all these features, gives the skull its typical macro-morphology that differentiates it clearly from the other genera in the Bovini Tribe. The more important characteristics that were found, are the following:

      1. The skull of young animals retains basic embryonic reshaping potential till quite late in life. It can be seen as a remnant of Meckel's cartilage in the mandible as well as in prolonged remodelling in the regions of the orbit, dorsum of the nose, and most markedly, also in the lateral walls of the cranium. A subsequent temporary atypical fontanel can even leave an osseus scar in the temporal region.
      2. Temporary canals, associated with the developing permanent premolars, appear in the maxilla and mandible.
      3. A well defined biomechanical supporting pillar forms internally in the skull of the buffalo. It conveys pressure from the lingual side of the caudal molar alveoli, to the ipsilateral external lamina of the frontal bone in the region of the frontal fossa.
      4. Apart from one small external segment, fusion of the perpendicular and basal plates of the ethmoid bone to the presphenoid bone, in the region of the orbital plate, makes ethmoid-related sutures the least visible sutures to see in all post-natal stages.
      5. The retro-orbital position of the cornual process, and the presence of a nasoincisive suture, are some of the osteological features that are shared with the domestic goat.
      6. Pneumatization of the nasal bone and dorsal concha may occur, as well as of the tympanic part of the temporal bone.
      7. The detail of the sutures other than those of the ethmoid bone, may allow "fingerprint" identification of specific bones or complete skulls. Other applied aspects of the skull may be of importance to hunters and clinicians.

2002, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Hornsveld, M 2002, The osteology of the cranial and facial bornes of the savannah buffalo Syncerus caffer caffer (Sparrman, 1779), PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-12082009-111044/ >


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