Project E1: Fibrolamellar Bone Evolution
|Title||The evolution of sauropodomorph long bone histology: fibrolamellar bone, thermophysiology, and gigantism|
|Principal Investigator||Prof. Dr. P. Martin Sander|
|Researcher||Dr. Nicole Klein, Koen Stein|
Fibrolamellar bone is the dominant tissue in the long bones of sauropod dinosaurs as well as in those of extant large mammals. Fibrolamellar bone indicates high growth rates and presumably a raised metabolic rate. Discoveries during the last funding period (Project A1) now offer the opportunity to greatly improve our understanding of this bone tissue. In particular, we intend to explore its meaning for sauropod dinosaur thermophysiology, evolution and gigantism.
In sauropodomorphs, the evolution of fibrolamellar bone and large body size appear to be closely correlated, suggesting that basal sauropodomorphs (i.e. prosauropods) represent earlier stages in fibrolamellar bone evolution and metabolic rate increase, and possibly that a raised metabolic rate may have been prerequiste to gigantism. Accordingly, the sampling program follows phylogenetic relationships and concentrates on prosauropods, basal sauropods (e.g. Antetonitrus, Vulcanodon, Kotasaurus), and uniquely derived histology such as seen in the dwarfed Europasaurus and in the titanosaur Ampelosaurus. Search for extant mammalian analogues for these will be crucial. The convergent evolution of fibrolamellar bone in the synapsid lineage will also prove very informative.
Additionally, we will continue to search for other (non-limb bone) skeletal elements that preserve a quantifiable growth record, i.e. growth marks.