Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods

Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods: Advancing Methods, Analysis, and Interpretation

Kevin Padian
Ellen-Thérèse Lamm
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 298
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  • Book Info
    Bone Histology of Fossil Tetrapods
    Book Description:

    The microscopic examination of fossilized bone tissue is a sophisticated and increasingly important analytical tool for understanding the life history of ancient organisms. This book provides an essential primer and manual for using fossil bone histology to investigate the biology of extinct tetrapods. Twelve experts summarize advances in the field over the past three decades, reviewing fundamental basics of bone microanatomy and physiology. Research specimen selection, thin-section preparation, and data analysis are addressed in detail. The authors also outline methods and issues in bone growth rate calculation and chronological age determination, as well as how to examine broader questions of behavior, ecology, and evolution by studying the microstructure of bone.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95511-0
    Subjects: Paleontology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE (pp. ix-x)
    Kevin Padian
  5. 1 Why Study the Bone Microstructure of Fossil Tetrapods? (pp. 1-12)
    Kevin Padian

    In the nineteenth century, when morphology was the queen of the biological sciences, every student of the living world had to know the intimate details of plant and animal anatomy, including microscopic anatomy, as well as the theories of the generation and determination of form and structure that underpinned the science of morphology (Sloan 1992; Desmond 1982, 1989). As a matter of routine, Richard Owen took a thin section of a bone ofScelidosauruswhen he described the dinosaur in 1861. However, with the twentieth-century advent of genetics, and later the great advances in cellular and molecular biology, histology—the...

  6. 2 The Biology of Bone (pp. 13-34)
    Adam K. Huttenlocker, Holly N. Woodward and Brian K. Hall

    This chapter examines the topic that, with elegant simplicity, Hancox (1972) called “Biology of Bone.” Whereas cartilage may be found in vertebrates and in many invertebrates,boneis a unique, typically vascularized skeletal tissue found only in vertebrate animals (Hall, 2005). In this section, we discuss the complex hierarchical structure of bone and highlight research into its structural evolution and development. The topics included in this chapter represent a condensed version of those discussed by Francillon-Vieillot et al. (1990), de Ricqlès et al. (1991), and parts of Hall (2005), and they strongly emphasize fossil and extant terrestrial vertebrates—in particular,...

  7. 3 Selection of Specimens (pp. 35-54)
    Kevin Padian, Ellen-Thérèse Lamm and Sarah Werning

    For the student of histology, there is always something interesting to be found in the examination of the microscopic structure of any tissue. In consideration of the time and energy it takes to produce thin-section slides, as well as the use of a limited resource when sectioning fossil material, it is important to define your questions and plan the details and full scope of all projects in advance of slicing. Your investigation, when well planned, will also be more rewarding and more interesting to other researchers, as well as easier to justify to the curator or collection manager when asking...

  8. 4 Preparation and Sectioning of Specimens (pp. 55-160)
    Ellen-Thérèse Lamm

    After following the guidelines in Chapter 3 on how to select specimens for histological study, you now have specimens chosen and are ready to begin processing. In this chapter, we guide you through:

    setting up and maintaining a paleohistology lab,

    preparing the specimen for research,

    making thin-section slides,

    curating the slides that you produce,

    restoring the original fossil,

    caring for equipment and supplies, and

    staying safe while working with chemical and equipment hazards.

    This is not intended to be an exhaustive guide, and most people will need hands-on training from an experienced technician to get the best results. However, we...

  9. 5 Image Standardization in Paleohistology (pp. 161-176)
    Timothy G. Bromage and Sarah Werning

    Workstations for digital photomicrography of the 1970s included a microscope, a video camera, and a computer-controlled image analyzer the size of an American refrigerator! Since that time, the microscopes have changed little, but tremendous advances in computer and camera digitalization technologies allow microscopists to record their images with increased ease and at higher resolution for all of their scientific and aesthetic purposes.

    More than 40 years ago, the CCD, or charge-coupled device, was invented. A CCD is simply an integrated circuit, a chip of perhaps 2.5 cm² and containing a set of thousands of extremely small image elements known as...

  10. 6 Database Standardization (pp. 177-194)
    Laura Wilson and Maria de Boef Miara

    Natural history collection repositories are important for safeguarding and preserving not only physical specimens but also their associated data and metadata. Common data include locality and geologic information that describe where a specimen was collected, its taxonomic identification, what skeletal elements are preserved, and its assigned catalog number. Once a fossil is curated and accessioned into the collection, few changes are made to the original specimen data other than taxonomic reassignments. Our primary focus in this chapter is on the preservation of new data, metadata, and images related to histologic analyses.

    We concentrate on two types of databases for histological...

  11. 7 Skeletochronology (pp. 195-216)
    Holly N. Woodward, Kevin Padian and Andrew H. Lee

    It is evident from previous chapters that not all bones in a skeleton grow at the same rate, that a single bone changes its growth rate through time, and that even parts of the same bone grow at different rates over an individual’s lifetime. This is as true of teeth as it is of bones and cartilage, depending on the animal. Still, an animal can have only one growth trajectory, and the purpose of this chapter is to discuss how best to estimate age of the body as a whole.

    A long bone is superficially like a tree trunk, which...

  12. 8 Analysis of Growth Rates (pp. 217-252)
    Andrew H. Lee, Adam K. Huttenlocker, Kevin Padian and Holly N. Woodward

    Recent advances in histological methods and approaches have improved the scope and reliability of our understanding of growth rates in extinct vertebrates. For dinosaur paleobiology in particular, studies can now test the following questions:

    1. how quickly dinosaurs grew (e.g., Padian et al. 2001, Erickson 2005),

    2. how different body sizes evolved (Erickson et al. 2004, Sander et al. 2006, Cooper et al. 2008),

    3. when reproductive maturity occurred (Erickson et al. 2007, Lee & Werning 2008), and

    4. how tachymetabolic or bradymetabolic they were (e.g., Padian & Horner 2004).

    The fundamental concept in these studies is that the skeleton...

  13. 9 Evolution of Growth Rates and Their Implications (pp. 253-264)
    Kevin Padian and Koen Stein

    To study the evolution of growth rates, it is necessary to develop two things: a sense of the ontogenetic patterns of individual species, and a phylogeny of the species in question. Studying ontogenies in phylogenetic context is the best approach to understanding how growth rates evolve.

    Growth rates can be compared among taxa in several ways. The simplest is to choose a single point or stage in ontogeny that can be assessed for each taxon and measure the growth rate at that stage in all taxa. Padian et al. (2001) used this approach for a variety of archosaurs. They chose...

  14. 10 Research Applications and Integration (pp. 265-285)
    Kevin Padian, Maria de Boef Miara, Hans C.E. Larsson, Laura Wilson and Timothy Bromage

    The point of providing all the information in the previous chapters is to stimulate readers with questions that fuel new research insights and integrative collaborations. Our goal has been to provide information about selecting, processing, recording, and interpreting samples of fossil bone and other tissues that can help us understand the variation displayed in fossil tissues and structure and to test hypotheses that explain this variation. In this final chapter, we begin by paralleling the structure of the first. The basic influences of the “four signals” that the macro-and microstructure of bone tissue were described in the first chapter. In...

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