New papers with free pdfs:
In the mid-19th century, the discovery that bone microstructure in fossils could be preserved with fidelity provided a new avenue for understanding the evolution, function, and physiology of long extinct organisms. This resulted in the establishment of paleohistology as a subdiscipline of vertebrate paleontology, which has contributed greatly to our current understanding of dinosaurs as living organisms. Dinosaurs are part of a larger group of reptiles, the Archosauria, of which there are only two surviving lineages, crocodilians and birds. The goal of this review is to document progress in the field of archosaur paleohistology, focusing in particular on the Dinosauria. We briefly review the "growth age" of dinosaur histology, which has encompassed new and varied directions since its emergence in the 1950s, resulting in a shift in the scientific perception of non-avian dinosaurs from "sluggish" reptiles to fast-growing animals with relatively high metabolic rates. However, fundamental changes in growth occurred within the sister clade Aves, and we discuss this major evolutionary transition as elucidated by histology. We then review recent innovations in the field, demonstrating how paleohistology has changed and expanded to address a diversity of non-growth related questions. For example, dinosaur skull histology has elucidated the formation of curious cranial tissues (e.g., "metaplastic" tissues), and helped to clarify the evolution and function of oral adaptations, such as the dental batteries of duck-billed dinosaurs. Lastly, we discuss the development of novel techniques with which to investigate not only the skeletal tissues of dinosaurs, but also less-studied soft-tissues, through molecular paleontology and paleohistochemistry--recently developed branches of paleohistology--and the future potential of these methods to further explore fossilized tissues. We suggest that the combination of histological and molecular methods holds great potential for examining the preserved tissues of dinosaurs, basal birds, and their extant relatives. This review demonstrates the importance of traditional bone paleohistology, but also highlights the need for innovation and new analytical directions to improve and broaden the utility of paleohistology, in the pursuit of more diverse, highly specific, and sensitive methods with which to further investigate important paleontological questions.
The orientation of vascular canals in primary bone may reflect differences in growth rate and/or adaptation to biomechanical loads. Previous studies link specific canal orientations to bone growth rates, but results between different taxa are contradictory. Circumferential vascular canals (forming laminar bone) have been hypothesized to reflect either (or both) rapid growth rate or locomotion-induced torsional loading. Previous work on the hindlimb biomechanics in the emu shows that the femur and tibiotarsus experience large shear strains, likely resulting from torsional loads that increase through ontogeny. Here, we test how growth rate and biomechanical loading affect bone laminarity in wing and hindlimb elements from growing emu (2â60 wks). If laminar bone is an adaptation to torsion-induced shear strains, it should increase from juveniles to adults. Alternatively, if bone laminarity reflects rapid growth, as has been shown previously in emu, it should be abundant in fast-growing juveniles and decrease with age. Transverse mid-shaft histological sections from the limb bones (femur, tibiotarsus, humerus, ulna, and radius) were prepared and imaged. Growth rates were measured using fluorescent bone labels. Vascular canal orientation was quantified using laminarity index (proportion of circumferential canals). Principal components analysis was performed to convert highly correlated variables (i.e., mass, age, growth rate, and shear strain) into principal components. Random-intercept beta regression modeling determined which principal components best explained laminarity. The fastest growth rates were found in young individuals for all five skeletal elements. Maximum growth rate did not coincide with peak laminarity. Instead, in the femur and tibiotarsus, elevated laminarity is strongly correlated with adult features such as large size, old age, and modest growth rate. This result is contrary to predictions made based on a previous study of emu but is consistent with results observed in some other avian species (penguin, chicken). Shear strain in the caudal octant of the femur and tibiotarsus is positively correlated with laminarity but has a weaker effect on laminarity relative to mass, age, and growth rate. Laminarity in the wing elements is variable and does not correlate with ontogenetic factors (including mass, age, and growth rate). Its presence may relate to relaxed developmental canalization or a retained ancestral feature. In conclusion, ontogeny (including growth rate) is the dominant influence on vascular canal orientation at least in the hindlimb of the emu.