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New Nature paper on dino bone microhistology

Here is a new paper on dinosaur bone histology, from this week's Nature:

Rensberger, J.M. & M. Watabe.  2000.  Fine of bone in dinosaurs, birds, and
mammals.  Nature 406: 619-621.

Unlike most papers so far on bone histology, this one concentrates on the
fine-scale structures: in particular, the canaliculi and the college fibre

The looked at a variety of modern mammal and bird bones, as well as
previously published material on squamates and amphibians.  Among fossils,
they examined _Gallimimus_ and a Lancian ornithomimid, a Nemegt hadrosaur,
_Protoceratops_, _Triceratops_, and previously published prosauropod

In all non-dinosaurian taxa the canaliculi are radially oriented and the
college bundles highly organized: this is almost certainly the primitive
condition for tetrapods.  In ornithomimids and birds the canaliculi are
randomly oriented and college bundles are irregularly organized.  Lamellae
in the primary osteons of ornithischians and prosauropods are similar to
those of the coelurosaurs; however, secondary osteons (later growth) look
like the condition in mammals, squamates, and lepidosaurs.  The authors
suggest a future study to look at ontogenetic series of the non-coelurosaur
dinosaurs to see what changes, if any, they see in the bones.

Previous histological work suggests that the disorganized structure seen in
birds and ornithomimids would be associated with rapid growth.

Interesting stuff.

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
                Vertebrate Paleontologist
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
                College Park, MD  20742
Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-314-7843