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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2010 Jun;21(4):462-70. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2009.11.005. Epub 2009 Nov 11.

Developmental palaeontology of Reptilia as revealed by histological studies.

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  • 1Paläontologisches Institut und Museum, Universität Zürich, Karl Schmid-Strasse 4, CH-8006 Zürich, Switzerland.


Among the fossilized ontogenetic series known for tetrapods, only more basal groups like temnospondyl amphibians have been used extensively in developmental studies, whereas reptilian and synapsid data have been largely neglected so far. However, before such ontogenetic series can be subject to study, the relative age and affiliation of putative specimens within a series has to be verified. Bone histology has a long-standing tradition as being a source of palaeobiological and growth history data in fossil amniotes and indeed, the analysis of bone microstructures still remains the most important and most reliable tool for determining the absolute ontogenetic age of fossil vertebrates. It is also the only direct way to reconstruct life histories and growth strategies for extinct animals. Herein the record of bone histology among Reptilia and its application to elucidate and expand fossilized ontogenies as a source of developmental data are reviewed.

(c) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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