Skeletal pathology and congenital variations in the Maltese Pleistocene hippopotamus



A first time report is submitted concerning pathological and other changes presented by the post-cranial bones of some 160 specimens of the Pleistocene hippopotamus (H. pentlandi and H. melitensis) from Ghar Dalam Cave, near St George's Bay, Birzebbuga, Malta, and now preserved in the Museum overlying the Cave. This material manifests such obvious lesions ab vertebral and metapodial osteo-arthritis. metapodial and phalangeal exostosis, phalangcal cavitation and fracture, ossification of the atlantal (‘of the atlas’) transverse ligament, as well as such congenital variations as atlantal occipitalization and‘fusion’of the second and third cervical vertebrae. Osteo-arthritis is notably prevalent in the thoracic vertebrae, wherein its effects are peculiarly destructive.