Growth rate affects blood flow rate to the tibia of the dinosaur Maiasaura

Roger S. Seymour, Heath R. Caldwell, Holly N. Woodward, Qiaohui Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Fossil bones were once living tissues that demanded internal blood perfusion in proportion to their metabolic requirements. Metabolic rates were primarily associated with bone growth (modeling) in the juvenile stages and with alteration and repair of existing bone affected by weight bearing and locomotion (remodeling) in later stages. This study estimates blood flow rates to the tibia shafts of the Late Cretaceous hadrosaurid Maiasaura peeblesorum, based on the size of the primary nutrient foramina in fossil bones. Foramen size quantitatively reflects arterial size and hence blood flow rate. The results showed that the bone metabolic intensity of juveniles (ca. 1 year old) was greater than fourfold higher than that of 6- to 11-year-old adults. This difference is much greater than expected from standard metabolic scaling and is interpreted as a shift from the high metabolic demands for primary bone modeling in the rapidly growing juveniles to a lower metabolic demand of adults to remodel their bones for repair of microfractures accumulated during locomotion and weight bearing. Large nutrient foramina of adults indicate a high level of cursorial locomotion characteristic of tachymetabolic endotherms. The practical value of these results is that juvenile and adult stages should be treated separately in interspecific analyses of bone perfusion in relation to body mass.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - 13 Feb 2024


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