Growth dynamics of Australia's polar dinosaurs

Holly N. Woodward, Thomas H. Rich, Anusuya Chinsamy, Patricia Vickers-Rich

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Abstract

Analysis of bone microstructure in ornithopod and theropod dinosaurs from Victoria, Australia, documents ontogenetic changes, providing insight into the dinosaurs' successful habitation of Cretaceous Antarctic environments. Woven-fibered bone tissue in the smallest specimens indicates rapid growth rates during early ontogeny. Later ontogeny is marked by parallel-fibered tissue, suggesting reduced growth rates approaching skeletal maturity. Bone microstructure similarities between the ornithopods and theropods, including the presence of LAGs in each group, suggest there is no osteohistologic evidence supporting the hypothesis that polar theropods hibernated seasonally. Results instead suggest high-latitude dinosaurs had growth trajectories similar to their lower-latitude relatives and thus, rapid early ontogenetic growth and the cyclical suspensions of growth inherent in the theropod and ornithopod lineages enabled them to successfully exploit polar regions.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23339
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume6
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - 8 Aug 2011

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Woodward, H. N., Rich, T. H., Chinsamy, A., & Vickers-Rich, P. (2011). Growth dynamics of Australia's polar dinosaurs. PLoS ONE, 6(8), [e23339]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0023339