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Growth patterns of fossil vertebrates as deduced from bone microstructure: case studies from India.

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Journal of biosciences

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      Bone microstructure is affected by ontogeny, phylogeny, biomechanics and environments. These aspects of life history of an extinct animal, especially its growth patterns, may be assessed as fossil bone generally maintains its histological integrity. Recent studies on the bone histology of fossil vertebrates from India encompass different types of temnospondyls and dicynodonts from different Permian and Triassic horizons. The examined taxa show that they had distinct bone histology and varied growth patterns. The Early Triassic trematosaurids had an overall fast growth, which contrasts with that of the Middle and Late Triassic temnospondyl taxa examined. The dicynodonts on the other hand, were characterized by an overall fast growth with periodic interruptions, variable growth rates dependent on ontogeny and indeterminate growth strategy. A comparative study encompassing several neotherapsid genera including the dicynodonts shows signifi cant evolutionary trends towards determinate growth strategy and reduced developmental plasticity.

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      [1 ] Department of Geology and Geophysics, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 721 302, India.
      J. Biosci.
      Journal of biosciences
      Nov 2009
      : 34
      : 5


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