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Kolb C, Scheyer TM, Veitschegger K, Forasiepi AM, Amson E, van der Geer AAE, van den Hoek Ostende LW, Hayashi S, Sánchez-Villagra MR. (2015) Mammalian bone palaeohistology: new data and a survey. PeerJ PrePrints3:e1155v1https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.1155v1
The interest in mammalian palaeohistology has increased dramatically in the last two decades. Starting in 1849 via descriptive approaches, it has been demonstrated that bone tissue and vascularisation types correlate with several biological variables such as ontogenetic stage, growth rate, and ecology. Mammalian bone displays a large variety of bone tissues and vascularisation patterns reaching from lamellar or parallel-fibred to fibrolamellar or woven-fibred bone, depending on taxon and individual age. Here we systematically review the knowledge and methods on mammalian bone and palaeohistology and discuss potential future research fields and techniques. We present new data on the bone microstructure of two extant marsupial species and of several extinct continental and island placental mammals. Three juvenile specimens of the dwarf island hippopotamid Hippopotamus minor from the Late Pleistocene of Cyprus show reticular to plexiform fibrolamellar bone. The island murid Mikrotiamagna from the Late Miocene of Gargano, Italy displays parallel-fibred primary bone with reticular vascularisation being pervaded by irregular secondary osteons in the central part of the cortex. Leithia sp., the dormouse from the Pleistocene of Sicily, is characterised by a primary bone cortex consisting of lamellar bone and low vascularisation. The bone cortex of the fossil continental lagomorph Prolagus oeningensis and three fossil species of insular Prolagus displays parallel-fibred primary bone and reticular, radial as well as longitudinal vascularisation. Typical for large mammals, secondary bone in the giant rhinocerotoid Paraceratherium sp. from the Miocene of Turkey is represented by dense Haversian bone. The skeletochronological features of Sinomegaceros yabei, a large-sized deer from the Pleistocene of Japan closely related to Megaloceros, indicate a high growth rate. These examples and the critical summary of existing data show how bone microstructure can reveal essential information on life history evolution. The bone tissue and the skeletochronological data of the sampled island species show that there is no universal modification of bone tissue and life history specific to insular species.
During the last two decades, the interest in mammalian palaeohistology has increased dramatically. In our current contribution, including nine figures and 2 tables, we systematically review the knowledge and methods on mammalian bone and palaeohistology and discuss potential future research fields and techniques. We present new data on the bone microstructure of two extant marsupial species and of several extinct continental and island placental mammals. These examples and the critical summary of existing data show how bone microstructure can reveal much information on life history evolution. The sampled island species show that there is no universal pattern of modification of bone tissue and life history specific to insular species.
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