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C R Acad Sci III. 2000 Jun;323(6):543-50.

Periosteal bone growth rates in extant ratites (ostriche and emu). Implications for assessing growth in dinosaurs.

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Université Paris-VI-VII et CNRS UMR 85 70, France.


The first quantitative experimental data on growth dynamics of the primary cortical bone of young ratites demonstrate the following. 1) From hatching to 2 months of age, cortical thickness remains constant, thereby expressing equilibrium between periosteal bone deposition and an endosteal bone resorption. 2) Radial growth rates of the diaphyseal bone cortex are high (10-40 on average--maximum 80 in the hindlimb (femur, tibiotarsus and tarsometatarsus). Wing bones are smaller and later developed. They have lower rates of radial osteogenesis (2-14 3) High growth rates are linked to densely vascularized primary bone belonging to the reticular or laminar tissue types. Growth rates fall when bone vascular density decreases. These results emphasize the importance of examining a large number of skeletal elements in order to build a precise knowledge of the general relationship between bone growth rate and bone tissue type. They also stress the potential of bone growth rate quantification among extinct tetrapods, including non-avian dinosaurs.

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